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Tapes Automatically Assigned to Retired Media set

Created: 04 May 2010 • Updated: 12 Nov 2010 | 1 comment

I know this topic has been thrown around quite a bit before, but I can't seem to find the info I'm looking for.

I have Backup Exec 10d installed on several backup servers. I have two Spectra Logic tape libraries, the 20K and the 10K, each equipped with a number of AIT-4 drives. Over the years I have seen Backup Exec automatically reassign many of these tapes to the Retired Media set. When it does this it will sometimes (but not always) generate an alert stating the media is unrecognized, that it is written in an unrecognized formate, and to erase it to make it usable. If I run a quick erase on these tapes they will soon enough get marked as Retired again. I have also tried running long erases which will run successfully, but the problem reoccurs.

I have even gone as far running full tape read/write tests using the Sony Tape Tools on some of these tapes and no errors come up. Some of these tapes are older, 2-4 years I estimate, but some are not even a year old. On the surface it seems like the tapes are fine because the long erases generate no errors, but why are they then put in the Retired Media set? Apparently it's having trouble reading the tape headers, perhaps? I'm not sure that it's hardware because it happens on separate libraries and multiple drives on the libraries.

Of course I have everything up to date. Latest firmware for both the drives and the libraries. Backup Exec has the latest service pack (SP4), and I'm running the Symantec drivers for the drives (the last set released for 10d in Nov or Oct 2006).

On the older tapes, I could conceive that maybe it's reading the tape memory, and determining that they are too old and thus marking them as Retired. But the newer media? Bad media? But then wouldn't the long erases fail?

How can I tell how long I've been using these tapes? Many of these tapes were being used since before I started working with this company, so it's hard to tell on my end. They have been switched around between different backup servers, so to the backup software they might seem new... Can this information be retrieved from Backup Exec?

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