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Clarification needed for media/job setting (Append) and large jobs

Created: 19 Oct 2012 • Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | 4 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

I've inherited our backup solution (BE 2010 with Dell Tape drive+autoloader) so I'm not fully trained/versed in the configuration of the system. I know how to create/modify jobs, swap tapes, etc but I've been encountering an odd issue lately. When we have a large job run that requires more than one tape, I've noticed that the job status will change to Queued and the message that appears is "Please insert overwritable media into the robotic library using the import command." If I check the media status I can see available media with Appendable Until - Infinite - Allow Append and these tapes have available space. My questions are as follows:

1. Why doesn't BE insert the next tape if it's available to be written to?

2. Are backups not able to span multiple tapes?

3. If the available tapes have some data written but are still able to be appended, are these excluded from the above scenario?

4. Where is the Import command that the message is asking me to use?

I've attached some photos below that may help illustrate my issue. Hoping someone can shed some light on this! From what I've been able to search, I don't really follow the answers that are given. Some of the nomeclature used is beyond me.

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Colin Weaver's picture

If you look carefully at the setting for append and the text near it I think it refers to the beginning of the job. Even if it does not, the explanation is we can only append at job start,  any subsequent tapes have to be overwritten and you must therefore have an overwritable tape available if you fill a tape during a job.

An import is a utility job type that tape a tape from the mailslot of a library and moves it to one of the storage slots you will find it im the devicesscreen  (or storage screen depending on version) of the BE console

Marc Laflamme's picture

Thanks Colin. So what you're saying is that because there is already data written on the two available tapes, even though there is plenty of room left, the job cannot continue onto either of these? Is there any way I can configure the jobs so I don't run into this issue?

Colin Weaver's picture

Nope there is no way to change this behaviour (of needing an overwriteable media when we span to the next tape in a job)  it is a requirement of Backup Exec and has been for some time.

Basically in the background we use sequences of tapes called media families, that start with an overwrite at the start of a tape, and then continue through every span to the next tape as you add more data (whether that data is added as part of the first job or later append jobs that keep increasing the size of the family.

One of the rules of a family however is that a tape cannot belong to 2 diffrent families at the same time, which means that the next tape in the job also has to be overwritten as otherwise the data on the start of that next tape would be in diffrent family.

So the fix for your problem is to get the amount of media in your library and the overwrite protection periods set so that you do have available overwriteable media.

Please read the Media Managerment chapter in the admin guide to help understand the various settings in Backup Exec that affect when a media can be overwritten and how Backup Exec chooses an Overwriteable piece of media from those available

Marc Laflamme's picture

Okay I think I understand now. So the if you have 15 tapes available, the jobs should start at tape 1, fill it, then move down the line to the subsequent tapes? Or is it random on what tape the job gets written to? Will it use 1 the first time then maybe 5 the next and so forth?

Our tapes only belong to 1 family I believe (LTO Media).

Yes I need to read the guide more or maybe get some training somewhere! Basic use is pretty easy, it's when there's an odd issue happening that leaves me in the dark.

Thaks for your help.