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This article is mainly aimed at users who are new to backups and hardware, and have no experience in troubleshooting issues with backups. There are a number of steps to follow, and these are the more common issues that are experienced when hardware issues are suspected.

I've seen on the forums that there have been a number of queries around potential hardware issues, which could be sorted out with enough knowdledge and skills.

It's by no means an exhaustive list, so if you know of something else, please add in your comments at the bottom with many things, the more, the merrier, and it helps to upskill newbies to an adequate level of troubleshooting....

1. Check and make sure that the Symantec drivers are in use for a tape drive and if a robotic library, make sure the robotics are selected as Unknown Medium Changer. Symantec prefers you to use their drivers for a tape drive as these have been written for that purpose. Sometimes using the manufacturer's drivers can resolve an incident, but when logging a call with Symantec, this is what they would recommend. If in doubt, either manually download the latest DDI package for your version of BE, or use LiveUpdate to do so. Once done, run the Device Configuration Wizard and install the drivers.

2. Check for any hardware errors in the Alerts tab of BE or the Event Viewer in Windows. These will indicate problems that warrant further investigation.

3. Make use of the drive manufacturer's diagnostic utility to eliminate hardware as the issue with backups. HP for instance has HP Library and Tape Tools which allows you run diagnostics against the drive and robotics (if present) to generate details on any potential faults. It also allows a single point for upgrading firmware on devices. This would also be a recommended as firmware updates address specific issues experienced with hardware.

4. If you run a mainstream server manufacturer's brand of servers in your environment, check any management application on the server for potential hardware failure. This could be along the lines of a management homepage listing all hardware on the server, or an array application. I've seen failing drives cause major issues with slow backups in an array, as well as a SCSI card that was generating errors. This is often a clearer indication of what is happening with the hardware. Any hardware that has failed, or is in pre-failure needs to be replaced.

5. For physical troubleshooting, you should be doing the following:

  • Make sure there are no hardware error lights on the hardware. If so, this needs to be addressed with the hardware vendor.
  • Make sure that the cables are securely connected to the drive and to the server, and if a terminator is involved, that it is also securely connected. Cables must not be bent past their physical limits as this can cause breaks within the protective cover.
  • If you're backing up to a SAN/NAS, make sure no hardware has failed by doing a physical check, or logging onto the disk storage system.
  • If using a robotic library or an autoloader, make sure there are no tapes that have come loose within the device, or are stuck inside the drive. If there are, follow your manufacturer's steps on how to get the tapes out.