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Reusing Tapes

Level 3

I'm new to Backup Exec 10d and have a bunch of older tapes I want to
reuse. When I put the tape in the drive it dosn't come up under any of
the media or devices. How do set up an old tape to use as a new tape?
Also is there away to check the tape for errors and how many hours are
on the tape? I should also mention I get alot of soft errors.

-Thanks, Rick

Level 6
When you say they don't come up under any of teh media or devices what do you mean here, are they not even showing as being in the drive? Have you run an inventory job? Assuming you can see the tapes listed once you've run the inventory job you should be able to move them into scratch media, which will then make them available to be used.

Don't think there is a way to view the stats on the tapes though, as that information is stored by the Backup Exec installation, not the tape itself, so would only be available if you still had access to your old installation. As far as Backup Exec will be concerned they will all be new tapes, and it will begin recording the relevant information from that basis, so 0 hours, 0 errors etc. Obviously if they are getting old and dodgy you'll start getting errors shown very quickly.

Level 3
No I didn't do a inventory job. I'll try that and see what happens. Also, I noticed that when I do a long erase then do a backup with that tape I didn't get any errors. As I type this reply I have a second tape doing a long erase. It is a tape that failed an exchange full (normal) back up with soft errors. I'll rerun the job to see if I get errors using the same tape.

Note: I reran the job and it failed. Soft errors.

-RickMessage was edited by:
Rick Morgan

Not applicable
Wanted to throw my 2 cents in. The Industry standard for tape usage is 5 years, 50 Uses. You really do not want to use a tape beyond this as you will start to have errors. You really can not depend on the Data being in tact. You can only hope it will be. That is why tapes should be replaced every 5 years ot 50 uses.

Level 3
I think your 2 cents is worth its weight in gold. I would say the tapes are at least 4 - 5 years old and I can bet they have been used more than 50 times. I was supprised that 50 uses is the end of life for a tape. I didn't look at it that way. So as soon as soft errors occure its time to replace that tape.

Thanks, Rick

Level 6
Yeah it's surprising when you look at it in those terms, though it obviously depends on your rotation, for instance if you used the same tapes say for Monday to Thursday backups you'll be looking at a lifetime of just a year.

The big thing you need to keep an look out for is hardware errors. I'd definitely go along with replacing a tape as soon as you see any of them, but software errors can be caused by multiple things, not just a fault with the tape itself, so you'll probably find yourself replacing the tapes constantly. Obviously in your case since you don't have the old media information you can't see which tapes had how many errors, though I'd expect you've had one or more hardware errors on each tape after that much time in use.

Level 3
Problem solved? I started using the tapes I thought were bad on a new server with a new HP StorageWorks DAT 72 tape drive. Not one tape has failed, no soft errors of any kind. So, I guess the old hp tape drive is shot. I downloaded StorageWorks library and tape tools from HP's website and ran the tool against the problem tape drive and it showed all types of errors.
So, I guess all along the tape drive I was using has been the culpret to my problems. I hope this thread is usefull to others out there. If you have errors that just wont go away get a new tape to test your drive, if you still have errors concider your tape drive as the problem.