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Verify fails with dirty read/write message on Dell PowerVault 110T (Tandberg TS400)

Buzz95
Level 2
We have a new Dell PowerEdge 2900 that has an external Dell PowerVault 110T LTO-2 tape drive attached.  The drive is actually a Tandberg TS400.
 
We ran two or three small backups prior to putting the server into production; however; the first backup failed during the verify operation with an error indicating a read/write error caused by dirty read/write heads.  The amber clean drive light was lit on the tape drive.
 
We inserted the cleaning tape and then ran a test backup job successfully.  The following night the backup again failed with the same error message.  The amber clean drive light was lit but this time we could not eject the tape.  We had to reboot the server to eject the tape.
 
I called Dell and they had me check the driver (I was using the Veritas driver) and the firmware (v3.76 the most current).  Dell then sent a replacement drive.
 
I attached the replacement drive to a test server and I'm having the same problem with the replacement drive.
The very first backup failed with an e00084c7 error message indicating dirty read/write heads.  Again the amber clean drive light was lit and I had to reboot the server to eject the tape.
 
I called Dell and they suggested that I might have a batch of bad tapes and sent out two more boxes.  I do not believe that the tapes are bad.  They are brand new tapes and I've used a new one for every backup. 
 
We've been temporarily using a USB HD for backups but I'm desperate to get the tape drive working.
 
We're using the following:
Server: Dell PowerEdge 2900
OS: Windows Small Business Server 2K3 (fully patched as of 1-1-08)
Tape Drive: Tandberg TS400 firmware 3.76
SCSI Card: Adaptec 39160
BE Software: 11d for Small Business Server
Tape Driver: Veritas
 
I don't believe it is the tape drive since we've had the same problem with two different drives.  I don't believe it is server hardware related because I've had the same problem on a test server using a different SCSI card.
 
Should we uninstall the Veritas Driver and go back to the Tandberg driver (v1.5.0 dated 2-13-07) that Windows 2K3 installed?
 
Should we try  disabling "Use Fast File Restore" and "Use fast file append" as outlined in Document ID: 278673?
 
 
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
Thanks,
 
Jeff
8 REPLIES 8

Ben_L_
Level 6
Employee
Try using the vendor or hardware driver to see if the same issue still comes up.  I'd be willing to bet it does.  Do you see any hardware related error messages in the application/system event logs?

Technote 278673 won't do anything for you in this case. 

I suspect you are having some sort of hardware issue.  Just FYI, some of the hardware issues I've worked with Dell on they have sent 4 or 5 tape drives before the customer got one that worked correctly.

Buzz95
Level 2
Thank you for your reply.
 
I called Dell last night and the tech stated that it might be the tapes we were using.  He stated that sometimes brand new tapes cause a problem.  He said that the tape drive actually cleans the tape while it is in use so the performance might get better.
 
I thought that was absurd since I was using brand new Dell tapes and tried a new tape every time I had a problem.
 
Well, last night I tried the native Tandberg driver and everything was fine.  This morning I loaded the Symantec driver again and everything was fine.  All these tests were done with the same tape.
 
I loaded a new tape and again I had the problem.  I erased the tape and tried again and it worked fine.
 
I loaded another new tape and again I had the problem with the first backup job.  Again, I erased the tape and was then able to use it successfully.
 
I know this sounds crazy but it seems that a new tape always fails on the first backup but works thereafter.
 
Have you ever heard of that happening?
 
 
Thanks,
 
Jeff

Ben_L_
Level 6
Employee
I have not heard of that before.  I am sending an email over to our hardware guys to see if this is normal or not.  I'll let you know if I get anything from them.

MTC_Admin
Level 2
Just curious to see if there has been an answer to this?  We're a Dell and Symantec partner/reseller and we just our hands on the new Dell PowerVault 110T LT02-L for 2 different clients of ours.  We upgraded to the Symantec 11d at the same time.  We're getting the same errors at both clients - dirty read/write messages...clean the drive.  It has done this each night since installation on all new tapes and we've cleaned the drives.  We had one drive replaced already at one customer site and the problem is not fixed!  I'm replacing the drive at customer #2 site today hoping that this fixes the problem, but my expectations are low.  As for trying the Tandberg drivers...that seems to go against everything Symantec/Veritas Support has ever said about always using the BE drivers.
 
Curious to know why Dell decided to stop branding the IBM Certance drives and went with these Tandberg drives!  Had very few issues with the Certance, but can't even get the Tandberg to work out of the box!
 
Any updated solutions to this is appreciated!

Buzz95
Level 2
After a good deal of experimentation, this is what I found.
 
If I use a new tape without erasing it first; it will fail virtually every time.
 
If I run a Long Erase on a new tape before using it the first time, I do not have the problem. 
 
As I mentioned in my first post we tried two different 110T (Tandberg) drives from Dell and both exhibited the same behavior.  Later, I installed one of the drives on a test server with a different SCSI card and I had the same problem.  I tried the Symantec drivers and the Tandberg drivers and I had the same problem.  I tried Backup Exec 11d as it shipped and also fully updated and I still had the same problem.
 
I did not try different backup software but that was not an option anyway since we had already purchased Backup Exec 11d. 
 
I also did not try different media; I only used Dell media in the testing since we had purchased 25 tapes with the drive and server. 
 
 
Even though running a Long Erase on each new tape is a pain and time consuming it does seems to solve the problem.  The tape seems to perform fine once the Long Erase has been run once.
 
Since using the Long Erase procedure, we've only had one failed backup.
 
I know this is not an optimal solution but it is the only thing I've found that will work.  Unfortunately, I had to return one of the drives to Dell so I don't have a spare drive that I can experiment with. 
 
 

Richard_Presley
Level 3


Does it matter if you use the Long Erase or the Quick Erase?


Ken_Putnam
Level 6
Not having this problem, myself, I can't  say with 100% certaintly,
 
But I'd say it makes a huge difference
 
Quick Erase just re-writes the header
 
Long Erase passes the entire tape over the write head, and writes random bytes to the tape.  If it was indeed dirty tapes directly from the manufacturing process, Long Erase would scrape all the debris and loose oxide off the mylar

MTC_Admin
Level 2
Buzz - would you mind posting what your drive properties' compression settings are.  (block size, buffer size, count, and high water)? 
 
Seems like we got my previous posting's drive all squared away after a drive replacement and running a backup on a new tape at least once before using on a full backup.  However - again I'm in the same boat with yet another new Dell 2900 and PV 110T (Tandberg TS400).  Repeated read/write, i/o errors and failures.  Hard write and read errors, etc.  Wanted to see if you played around with any of these drive settings in BExec.