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Tape Retention

Good day Symantec Community Experts,

I have a question that needs a solution. I am wondering how can I better manage my tapes. I get the message Please insert overwritable media to continue with the monthly backup. I have a total of 15 tapes in my dell autoloader. Most of the tapes are not even close to being half full. I wonder why can't the backup job for the monthly run on one of those. It seems like I am wasting alot of tapes. I assume it is in the way the system is setup to use the tapes.

We run a daily backup, weekly backup and a monthly backup.

Any help or insight would be appreciated

If you need more info please let me know!

7 Replies

What are the options used for

What are the options used for the job that writes to media set "CTD monthly"?  If it is set to always overwrite, then it will always look for a fresh media instead of appending to one of the available media.

That would solve your "wasted space" question.  BUT, I don't think you want to append "this month's backup" to tapes that were also used a couple years ago, but that is subjective.

Do you want to keep your monthlys forever?  Since they are set to "infinite" overwrite protection they will NEVER get overwritten.  Nothing wrong with that, but then I would typically expect those old tapes to be exported from the tape library and kept in a safe place.  Unless you frequently WANT to restore from your 2012 tapes?

Hi Larry, So our Monthly

Hi Larry,

So our Monthly Tapes are picked up and go offsite to a secure location, so the Monthly backups never stay onsite or get over written.

I attached a screenshot that I hope might help.



So, that confirms my

So, that confirms my suspicion that your Monthly backups always start as Overwrites.  This is typical and there is nothing wrong with it.  But, if there are not other jobs that use the same media set, then they will never get appended to and therefore they will not be 100% full.

You say that your Monthly tapes go offsite, but your first screenshot shows tapes from 2012, which doesn't seem right.  If these have been brought back from the offsite with the intention of re-using them, they should be assigned to the scratch media set.

Yes we had to bring some

Yes we had to bring some tapes back from offsite.

So is it best to assign certain tapes to certain media sets or let SBE do it automatically?

The daily and weekly backup tapes get appended to and get over written at a certain point I believe.


So is it best to assign

So is it best to assign certain tapes to certain media sets or let SBE do it automatically?

BE does this automatically when jobs use media.  If you manually move tapes into protected media sets, then they may never get used.  The exception to this is to move used tapes into the Scratch set (or run an erase job) when you intend for them to be recycled.

So, back to your original question:

I get the message Please insert overwritable media to continue with the monthly backup.

Does your monthly job take more than one tape?

Does that alert pop up immediately when the job starts or when the first tape gets full?

Basically, that alert pops up if you don't have sufficient overwritable media, which all depends upon your settings and strategy, there is no universal answer, just general best practices.

I see four overwritable tapes in your first screenshot, so your monthly job should probably run OK.  If that alert pops up, then you need to import tapes, which you may not have handy & ready.

Thanks Larry Monthlies

Thanks Larry

Monthlies usually range from 230-240GB in size. The tapes are all 1.4 TB tapes LTO5 tapes

I get what you are saying.

So where exactly would I navigate to change the Overwrite protection, Appendable, Infinite-Allow Append rules for the the jobs?

OPP and AP are properties of

OPP and AP are properties of media sets which are listed under the Media tab.  For more details, you should read Chapter 4 - Managing Media in the Admin Guide and this document

Note that BE can only append to the first tape used by the job.  For second and subsequent tapes, BE needs overwritable tapes.