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6GB of 375GB tape used but will not append to it

Created: 15 Jan 2008 • Updated: 24 May 2010 | 8 comments

Hi there,
I have a tape library with 25 tapes in it.  We do a nightly full backup of our system using 4 diferent jobs.  The append period is infinant and they all have a 4 week overwrite protection period.  A lot of the tapes in my library are only partially used sometimes as little as 6GB are used.  However, it will not append to these tapes, it sits there asking for a new tape to be inserted.  What is going on?  Why is it not appending to the free space on these tapes?

Here is a picture of what I am talking about:

This morning it was sitting there asking for a tape, so I just drug a full one over to scratch media. Thats why you see one tape in use.

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samd's picture

My guess is under Tools/Options (dialog box pops up) under Job Defaults/Backup you have the Media overwrite protection set to Overwrite. And when it can't overwrite do to the overwrite policy it prompts for a tape.
I've had this happen before when figuring out BE.

What is your Media overwrite protection level set to under Tools/Options/Media Management? Probably Partial or Full or all of your Media would be the color blue (meaning it can be written to) instead of all black (cannot be written to) like all your media is now.

When you have figured it out  your media that has space left will be in blue instead of black.

Message Edited by samd on 01-15-2008 01:01 PM

James Lutter's picture
Hi Samd,
Thanks for your reply.
Under Options>Job Defaults>Backup>Backup I have Media Overwrite Protection set to "Append to media, overwrite if no appendable media is available."
And under Media Managment its set to "Partial".
From the looks of things, this is how it should be set up.  I want to protect my media from being overwritten for 4 weeks, but it still should append on to the end of it if space is available on it.  I'll play with the settings a little tho and see.
Ken Putnam's picture
Doesn't directly apply here, but remember that the OPP is reset very time that you append to a tape volume, so it you append 3 weeks and two days after the tape is opened (with a 4 week OPP) , you cannot  ooverwrite it for another 4 weeks
if you run a job that points to Media Set 1, with a job defined as "Append, Else Overwrite" , backup exec will not append to any of the appendable media?
Or does it append to a volume and fill it up, and still have more data to write?  In that case backup exec will ONLY accept an Overwriteable tape.
That is, if you specify Append, backup exec will only append to the first tape volume used.  The second, third etc will only Overwrite

If this response answers your concern, please mark it as a "solution"

James Lutter's picture
OK, so you are saying that if BE starts out appending a job to appendable media and runs out of room on that tape, it will not continue by finding another tape with appendable space on it and append to that tape, but will only accept a completely overwriteable tape?
Thats seems like a pretty harsh limmitation of BE.  As you can see from my screen shot, I have quite a few almost empty tapes that could be used in this instance, but BE is not allowing it. But also what you are saying is that tonight's backup will probably run OK since it looks like almost every one of my appendable tapes has enough room left on it for an entire backup job.
Ken Putnam's picture
Thats seems like a pretty harsh limmitation of BE
You are not the first one to complain, but it does make sense, in a way.   Say you have a 100 GB job, and want to append.  Say also that your oldest append volumes all have less than 20GB of space on them.  If BE appended, then appended again, then appended again, etc  you would wind up with one 100 GB job on SIX different tape volumes
Also, remember that BackupExec will not look for the Appendable tape with the  most space left, but will use the "oldest" appendable tape first.  That is the tape that was originally initialized/overwritten on the eariest date

If this response answers your concern, please mark it as a "solution"

samd's picture

Is that what you are doing? Running out of space on one tape and wondering why it doesn't tape with space left? Look here

"Caution: If an append job fills a media, the job continues on another piece of overwritable media. Depending on your configuration, overwritable media is selected from scratch media or recyclable media. If the media in the drive is not overwritable, a message is displayed, which requests for a scratch media to be inserted."

James Lutter's picture
I guess I don't see the harm in having a single backup job on 6 tapes as they all remain inside the library %100 of the time anyway.  Weekend off-site backup tapes are the only ones that are imported/exported.  Seems like it would make sense to at least have this behavior be an option for large library systems.
I'm not complaining at you, tho. Thank you very much for pointing out what the actual behavior is. I'm just really suprised.  Thanks again for the help.
Ken Putnam's picture
I guess I don't see the harm in having a single backup job on 6 tapes as they all remain inside the library %100 of the time anyway. 
remember too, that everyt time you append to a tape volume, the OPP is reset as of the time the volume is closed, so in the above example, all six tapes would be overwrite protected for 4 weeks from the time they were closed

If this response answers your concern, please mark it as a "solution"