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Retrospect says tape is erased


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Hello,

Running Retrospect ver. 5.0.238 on a Mac OSX version 10.4.7. Backing up to an Exabyte VXA 1 tape drive using Exabyte V17 tapes. Retrospect logs show backup of 21 gb of files backed up including verification. When I try to restore information from this tape, Retrospect tells me the tape has been erased.

I have not erased the tape. Why does Retrospect tell me the tape is erased? Have I lost the header? Is there any way to rename the tape the old name and not lose any information.

Should I just send the tape out to be recovered by a profession recovery business?

 

Thanks.

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I don't run Retrospect 5 (we run Retrospect 6.1 on our Xserve), and we have an Exabyte VXA-2 1x10 1u SCSI drive with autoloader.

 

That said, I have seen the situation you describe with our configuration, and apparently Retrospect (or the Exabyte drive, or both) gets confused when Retrospect is started and the tape is not at BOT. We first saw this when there was a power fail during an overnight backup, and the Xserve shut down cleanly (but left the tape not at BOT). We have worked around this by having Retrospect rewind on quit and eject the tape back to the autoloader. I've requested a feature enhancement for a future version for an option to rewind on start.

 

I suggest that you try quitting Retrospect, manually rewinding the tape using the front panel, then restart Retrospect, insert the tape, do a verify (even a partial one), then rewind, eject. At least for us, that fixed the indication of "erased".

 

See my product suggestion in the following forum thread on 7/28/05 (just over halfway down the thread) when we discovered this bug:

Retrospect Product Suggestions

 

See if this helps.

 

Russ

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One more suggestion to try. Yesterday I was performing maintenance (rebarcoded all of our tapes - the procedure is not obvious, but the solution is in the KB ("Clearing Library Barcode Information")), and mysteriously, all tapes in our autoloader, after being re-barcoded, showed up as "erased" when moved from the autoloader to the drive. After much chasing of wild gooses, I performed a cleaning cycle with a cleaning cartridge, and all is well - all tapes now show with their proper names and new barcodes.

 

So you might want to try a cleaning cycle. That's one to remember.

 

Russ

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Thanks Russ.

I tried the cleaning also, but still showing erased. Some how I was able to name the tape the orignal name, but the creation date was different from the orignal date on the tape. I tried rebuild the Verify and Rebuild the Catalog, but the Creation date is different on the tape now.

Is there anyway to force Retropsect to read this tape? The name of the catalog does not matter to me. I am just trying to get to the information on the tape.

 

Thanks for the help.

 

gil

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If you succeeded in renaming the tape, that's a "bad thing" because it would have written a new header, causing loss of everything past that. Renaming the tape necessarily does an effective erase because it terminates the tape after the header. I think you are hosed now because of the rename. Sorry.

 

Now, there might be the possibility of recovering data past the new header (problem is, they don't always write the exact same length; these aren't like disks with random-write sectors), but that will be very, very expensive for a data recovery house to do, and it will require intimate knowledge of the Retrospect tape format and is more problematic because of the VXA packet format. More than I know how to do.

 

If you ever get in this situation again, the first and most important thing to do is to write protect the tape. That way, you can't get any worse off than you are.

 

As a side remark, you didn't say how old the tape was. I seem to recall that VXA tapes have something like 200 passes in them (remember, if you are doing verify, that halves the number of backups). That's why we don't reuse our tapes once they fill up - we just put them aside, keep a full archive of snapshots back to day 1.

 

Russ

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Oh well. I might send the tape to a recovery house to see if they can read the information. Cost is somewhere around $1500 - $3500 depending on the difficulity.

 

I use the tapes to backup printed jobs we do each week. Once the tape is full, I start a new one and continue to backup old print jobs. The information on the tape is not really necessary unless we are asked to reprint a job. We just backup the jobs for our convience. Our clients should always have the orignal file. Sometimes we still have the client's cd on hand.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Gil

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Well, if that's the case, at least you have your catalogs, which tell you the file names and dates and hierarchy. Given that, it ought to be straightforward to know what data is on the tape, and get an indication as to the location of the source (client, etc.). I guess that you don't have alternating backup sets, right?

 

Consider an autoloader; it will change your life. The Exabyte VXA-2 1x10 1u drive/autoloader (we have the SCSI version) is pretty inexpensive and works well for us.

 

Regards,

 

Russ

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  • 1 month later...

Yea, I suspect that Exabyte's most recent firmware update (210E) has some issues. If you look at the release notes, you will see that Exabyte made changes to the error recovery routines, among other things. After the update, I'm seeing about twice a week that Retrospect thinks that its backup set members are "erased" and gives me a media request for the correct tape. If, while the media request is pending, I go to the autoloader's front panel and do a tape cleaning cycle (I've got a cleaning cartridge permanently in the autoloader, barcoded with the CLNxxxxx notation, with the slot marked as a cleaning slot), then use Retrospect's Devices menu to move the correct tape to the drive while the media request is pending, everything moves along. Or, if I don't see the media request and get the emails after everything has finished (all scripts punt because of no media with right name), things work OK the next day after a cleaning cycle. Again, I think Exabyte has a problem with their most recent firmware update, I'm probably going to roll back to 210D.

 

Russ

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Hi Russ.

 

Thanks for the info. I upgaded to 210E but I have had this problem for 9 months now all my tapes show up as (Unknown) with the tape in the drive reading Erased, its so odd.

 

I am running this on a Xserve with 10.4.7, using a ACARD SCSI Card and a Exabyte VXA-2 1x10 1u SCSI drive with autoloader, Retrospect 6.1 fully updated.

 

Any ideas?

 

Martin.

 

P.S Talk a look at this screen shot;

 

www.act-us.info/retospect.jpeg

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Quote:

Hi Russ.

 

Thanks for the info. I upgaded to 210E but I have had this problem for 9 months now all my tapes show up as (Unknown) with the tape in the drive reading Erased, its so odd.

 

I am running this on a Xserve with 10.4.7, using a ACARD SCSI Card and a Exabyte VXA-2 1x10 1u SCSI drive with autoloader, Retrospect 6.1 fully updated.

 

Any ideas?

 

Martin.

 

P.S Talk a look at this screen shot;

 

 


Well, I have seen what you show, but it takes two steps:

 

(1) getting your barcode data forgotten, whether intentionally or by corruption. I've only had it happen intentionally when I re-barcoded all of my tapes under a new barcoding scheme, and had Retrospect forget the old barcode data. See this KB article: KB Article 7901

AND

(2) The problem I described above whereby the VXA-2 drive needs cleaning (well, actually, it was giving occasional errors on load that the error routines couldn't correct). Again, I think that the error recovery routines in 210E may be bad. Last night I tried putting a new cleaning cartridge in the cleaning slot, and I will continue to gather data. Perhaps the old cleaning tape was bad / worn out.

 

When the barcode database is reset, everything shows up as unknown until you move each tape to the drive (Configure > Devices, Devices Menu > Move Selected to Drive, Eject). If Retrospect has trouble reading the tape header during load, the tape will show up as "unknown media" or "erased" (not clear what causes the different indication) or sometimes, if the tape was not at BOT when inserted (perhaps from a previous unsuccessful load) the drive would run forever until I went to the front panel and fooled around (forced an eject or something). But the combination of these two steps (1 and 2 above) caused me to see exactly what your screen shot shows.

 

Again, I'm gathering more data after replacing the cleaning cartridge. But I was seening Retrospect think that the tape member was erased about once a week. Only on tape load from the autoloader, not always the same tape member - once things got going, it was OK.

 

Russ

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