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Problems with IBM VXA-2 Drive

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Hi all,


I am having an annoying problem with a new IBM VXA-2 Drive. Details are:


Win 2003 Server

Retrospect 7.0, with update for Out of Sync error & VXA-2 drives.

IBM VXA-2 Tape Drive (Firmware 2109), with Adaptec SCSI card

RAID HD System


We had a VXA-2 drive previously that kept reporting dirty heads, even immediately after inserting a cleaning tape. We have had this drive replaced under warranty, and after upgrading Retrospect to 7.0.25 (I think - the revision for Out of Sync errors on VXA Drives) we had about 2 weeks of good backups, but now it is playing up again.


As of Friday, (our recycle weekly backup) Retrospect said that the tape was "Incompatible". This was using 2 different tapes, one being erased, and one being from a test backup 2 weeks prior.


This is gettting very frustrating, as the server is only 2 months old, and we seem to be getting recurring problems with this drive. We were originally using Windows Backup, (using the original drive) but that started playing up as well. We used Retrospect 6.0 on our old server with a Sony 11000 DAT drive, and didn't have any problems with that.


Has anyone else had experience with the VXA-2 Drives?




Brad Clarke

paul clarke & associates pty ltd

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  • 3 weeks later...



I don't think this is a Retrospect issue. I am having the same problem with this tape drive on and IBM EServer P5/520 running AIX 5.2 OS, using Edge backup utility. I work for an IBM reseller and in talking with others in my company I found that we have had a lot of problems with these tape drives and someone from our company is working with IBM to find a solution. All of the problems have been when using the 80/160GB tapes and have only started after the tape has been used once. A new tape always seems to work fine. We have had some success using a smaller supported tape.


Here are the supported tapes for that drive:


VXA V6 (62m) data cartridge with a native capacity of 20GB

VXA V10 (107m) data cartridge with a native capacity of 40GB

VXA V17 (170m) data cartridge with a native capacity of 59GB

VXA V23 (230m) data cartridge with a native capacity of 80GB


If I find out any more information, I'll post it.



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5 new Exabyte X23 tapes arrived Monday, and have so far managed to complete a Recycle backup, and 3 daily backups.


It looks as if the other tapes were damaged by the previous faulty drive - now I just have to get replacement tapes out of IBM !!!.


I am still waiting for head cleaning tapes to arrive (the supplier was out of stock) so when they come in I will give the drive a good clean out.


Thanks for your help



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