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Tapes randomly disappear from slots in Backup Exec 2014

Adrian_M
Level 3

Hi,

During the course of our backups, tapes will disappear from the slots in our tape libraries (all 3). If you scan the library, they will show up and get marked as unknown media and put in the "Backup Exec and Windows NT Backup Media" media set. Change them to scratch and do an inventory and they are happy again. This gets frustrating as jobs then wait for new tapes to be put in the library when they really are tapes in there but Backup Exec "forgets" they are there.

Anyone seen this before or know of how to troubleshoot this?

Regards,

Adrian

24 REPLIES 24

pkh
Moderator
Moderator
   VIP    Certified

This is new.  You would probably need to log a support case for Symantec to look at the problem. Before that,

1) Is the media server a VM?  If it is, then this configuration is not supported.

2) What is the OS of the media server?

3) What are the brand and model of the tape drives? If they have more than one tape drives in them, do you have the additional LEO licences for the additional tape drives.

4) Does the tape libraries appear in the Windows Device Manager as Unknown Medium Changer with a Microsoft driver and the tape drives have a Symantec driver.

5) Have you tried uninstalling and re-installing the libraries?

Adrian_M
Level 3

1) Is the media server a VM?  If it is, then this configuration is not supported.

Physical IBM server

2) What is the OS of the media server?

Server 2008R2

3) What are the brand and model of the tape drives? If they have more than one tape drives in them, do you have the additional LEO licences for the additional tape drives.

IBM TS3310 (FC) and HP MSL2024 (SAS)

4) Does the tape libraries appear in the Windows Device Manager as Unknown Medium Changer with a Microsoft driver and the tape drives have a Symantec driver.

No hardware faults reported for the tape libraries themselves.

The librarys have their own respective vendor driver installed. The HP tape drives have Symantec drivers installed back from 2008 and the IBM tape drives have IBM drivers.

5) Have you tried uninstalling and re-installing the libraries?

This was done a couple months ago to trouble shoot from licensing issues.

VJware
Level 6
Employee Accredited Certified

Sounds similar to http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH78289

pkh
Moderator
Moderator
   VIP    Certified

The librarys have their own respective vendor driver installed.

This is not recommended.  You should switch to the MS driver using the procedure in the document below

http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH33002

the IBM tape drives have IBM drivers.

Go to the BE installation directory and use tapeinst.exe to install the Symantec drivers for these tape drives.

Adrian_M
Level 3

I've "updated" the drivers... still 2008 though... and install SP1

see how it goes this weekend.

 

VJ- same thing but it happens after you have already done all that stuff.. you have to do it again throughout the week.

pkh
Moderator
Moderator
   VIP    Certified
Don't worry about the date of the Symantec drivers

Larry_Fine
Level 6
   VIP   

Is this happening with tapes that are staying in the library?  or does this happen when you are changing tapes in & out of the library?

This may be relevant http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH222866

Adrian_M
Level 3

Tapes that are staying in the library.

We swap the tapes out on a thursday, do a scan and inventory.

Full backups run from Friday to when they are done (Tuesday/Wednesday).

Come Monday/Tuesday, there will be tapes missing out of the list and BE wont use them until you do a scan/inventory again.

Larry_Fine
Level 6
   VIP   

So these are tapes in the scratch media set that are disappearing from their slot, while the backup is running and using other tapes?

What media set are these tapes in after they vanish from the slot?  "retired"?  You should be getting an alert when BE moves tapes to the retired media set.

You might try looking in the BE Audit Log, under Devices and Media, to see if you spot anything unusal during that time frame.

If a tape cartridge or drive was giving you trouble, BE might move the cartridge to "Offline Tape Media", which would make it vanish from the slot, but you would normally get an alert about a bad or incompatible media when that happens.

Adrian_M
Level 3

So these are tapes in the scratch media set that are disappearing from their slot, while the backup is running and using other tapes?

Correct

What media set are these tapes in after they vanish from the slot?  "retired"?  You should be getting an alert when BE moves tapes to the retired media set.

After a rescan they show up in "Backup Exec and Windows NT Backup Media" media set.

You might try looking in the BE Audit Log, under Devices and Media, to see if you spot anything unusal during that time frame.

If a tape cartridge or drive was giving you trouble, BE might move the cartridge to "Offline Tape Media", which would make it vanish from the slot, but you would normally get an alert about a bad or incompatible media when that happens.

Nothing in the log files nor any alerts

Larry_Fine
Level 6
   VIP   

What media set are these tapes in after they vanish from the slot?  "retired"?  You should be getting an alert when BE moves tapes to the retired media set.

After a rescan they show up in "Backup Exec and Windows NT Backup Media" media set.

Before the rescan, what media set are they in?  If they are no visible in the BE GUI at all, then I suspect that you have a corrupt database.  If they aren't mentioned in the audit log, then I suspect that BE didn't even try to use these vanishing media.

If you inventory one of these "Backup Exec and Windows NT Backup Media" tapes, what media set do they show up in?

MASIAlbert
Level 3

We have the same issue.  I scan and scratch 7 tapes on Friday morning, all 7 show up correctly.  As the backups run over the weekend, one or two tapes get "forgotten."  So come Monday morning, the one or two slots look empty, and Backup Exec asks me to put in additional tapes so the jobs can continue.  I just re-scan and they appear again, and Backup Exec continues to run the jobs no problem.

Was a resolution ever found for this?

  

Larry_Fine
Level 6
   VIP   

Can you check your audit logs?

It sounds similar to

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/forums/be2014-tape-library-showing-empty-slot-after-media-expires

which leads to

http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH225365

DLM is deleting the Tape Media as an expired media and sending them to Backup Exec and Windows NT media set

MASIAlbert
Level 3

Larry, yes my Audit Log showed that the DLM is indeed deleting the media.  From your link, it looks like the issue is currently under investigation by Symantec, and that the workaround is what I've been doing anyway.

Thank you for your prompt and accurate reply.  I don't suppose there is any way to turn off this aspect of DLM?  That is, the component that manages tape media.

Albert

stephan_vanheld
Level 5

We have a similar issue (posted this also here: https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/forums/be2014-tape-library-showing-empty-slot-after-media-expires#comment-10598691)

 

BE 2014 SP1 on Windows Server 2012 R2 (also happened before SP1, but not with older BE versions). Dell TL4000 (aka IBM 3573) LTO library.

We insert 24 (already expired) tapes on Wednesday. Then, on Friday, backup begins. On Sunday, jobs start asking for tapes, and Backup Exec sees (for example, the actual count is varying):

  • 14 used tapes
  • 5 "Backup Exec and Windows NT media" tapes
  • 5 empty slots

We then need scan the empty slots and scratch all of the unused tapes, and then the jobs continue to run.

To me this is clearly a bug. The tapes are already expired (and displayed in blue) when we insert them, so DLM should not touch them after this (until they are re-used of course).

Marcel_CH
Level 3

This issue gets more and more frustration and also, in our case, dangerous.

So on Friday I feed my Libaries with new LTO6 Tapes in our new LTO6 Libraries.

I scan the whole library. I run an Inventory on the whole Library. I select all the Tapes and manually scratch them, because it happend to me in the past that even when they were blue and overwritable, BE wouldn't touch them. Or they dissapear.

It gets better though. Today (Friday) I check again the Libraries out of habit and I realize that there are only 4 Tapes instead of 8. After a Scan, 4 more Tapes show up. Blue. Overwritable. And 3 out of those 4 Tapes have been used 7 days ago to write the Full Backup as I verified with the Full-Backup Job Log.

I went to the AuditLogs and yes, Data Lifecycle Management Deleted expired media. Seriously?

I went to Settings and the only thing I found that could be related is the "Allow Backup Exec to delete all expired backup sets" which wasn't ticked.

This is a nightmare and we are seriously considering going back to BE2012.

To me Media management should be as important as backing up the data itself. But that might be just me.

 

MASIAlbert
Level 3

Marcel_CH, I can confirm that this happens with our setup as well.  It will not only delete the "expired" tapes that are Scratch Media, but may also delete tapes full of data that have just been written during the backup job as confirmed by backup job log.  When you scan the "empty" slots, they appear again as blank blue media. 

The end result is that we have to re-run the backup job the tape was a part of.  This has happened with our second biggest job, resulting in having to re-do a 20 hour job.  I am hoping to God that it does not happen with our 37 hour job.

This is obviously a huge problem that deserves the highest escalation that Symantec can muster, as there is no way to predict which tapes will be chosen for deletion.

Colin_Weaver
Moderator
Moderator
Employee Accredited Certified

@ Marcel-CH and MA SIAlbert

 

If you suspect this condition might be resulting in tapes being available for overwrite before they should be and/or to help us progress our research into the problem then please follow the direction at the bottom of http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH225365 where we state: "Customers experiencing this issue are encouraged to contact Symantec Technical Support as data is still being collected to assist in resolving this issue."

and log formal technical support cases for us to look at your issue.

 

 

MASIAlbert
Level 3

Hi Colin,

I already did that weeks ago.  They are working on it, but I don't know at what tier of support.  Mainly, my reply was to assure Marcel-CH that it's not just his installation that is deleting tapes that were just used for backup and to assert that further escalation is necessary, because the workaround is not sufficient in cases where the "retired" but not actually retired media that is deleted by DLM has just been written to.  In other words, it's more serious than Symantec thinks. 

They aren't just being available for overwite before they should be, like tapes with data past their retention period.  They're actively being deleted as retired media regardless of the retention period, which is different.  Hopefully they will find a solution soon.

Best,

Albert