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Error -205: Lost access to storage medium -- QuantumDLT-S4


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Setup: Mac G4 (10.3.9) with Atto UL3S (latest firmware) and Quantum SuperLoader3 DLT-S4; Retrospect 6.1.126, Driver 6.1.9.102. Backing up approx 20 workstations / 1.5 TB.

 

Seemed to work fine for about a week. Then I get the -205 error at the start of the nightly incremental backup. After that, the drive in the SuperLoader shows "busy" in Retrospect and the tape in the drive does not show up. At this point the autoloader will not function, even from its own front panel. A "system reset" on the SuperLoader eventually errors out with something like a tape stuck in drive. I can access the SuperLoader from its web console, but still cannot move tapes. Only a full power cycle on the SuperLoader will restore operation. It's done this several times. I suspected a bad unit, so they replaced the entire SuperLoader. The new one worked for a few days and now is doing the same thing.

 

Obviously Retrospect is doing something that essentially "hangs" the SuperLoader.

 

Any ideas?

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I assume you've checked the usual things like firmware in the Quantum drive and autoloader, and that you've got good SCSI cables, terminators, etc. I've had instances of drives/autoloaders being replaced and not getting the current firmware. I looked on the Quantum web site and there don't seem to be any updates for the SuperLoader3 with DLT-S4. I also didn't see any diagnostics.

 

You say you've got the "latest firmware" in your ATTO UL3S but you don't say what that version is, and you don't say anything about the ATTO driver version. Current driver for the UL3S and Mac OS 10.3.9 is v3.21. Current firmware for the UL3S is v1.6.6f0 (released 7/15/2003).

 

Is there anything else on that SCSI channel of the UL3S other than the Quantum loader and drive? I had a Retrospect hanging situation with our Xserver G5, Exabyte VXA-2 1x10 1u PacketLoader (SCSI) on an ATTO UL4D when a Seagate Cheetah RAID 1 mirror (driven by SoftRAID) of our OS volume was on the same SCSI channel as the Exabyte. Would sometimes hang Retrospect when the initial "scanning devices" dialog came up after the first network client had been scanned and the backup list of files had been prepared.

 

Happened with Retrospect 6.0 and 6.1, Mac OS X Server 10.4.2 through 10.4.6, I believe, and it seemed to be timing dependent (frequency of hangs changed with OS updates). Happened about once a month until, after one of the OS updates, it started happening almost every day.

 

Solution was to put the Exabyte drive and autoloader (Retrospect's devices) on their own channel of the UL4D, moving the Seagate Cheetah over to the other channel. Hanging stopped immediately and has never happened again.

 

It is my suspicion that Retrospect did something during its device scan that caused a bus reset, causing a transfer interrupt to be dropped for the Seagate Cheetah, which was trying to page stuff in and out as our OS volume. You may be seeing something similar if there is another SCSI device on the same channel as your Quantum drive and autoloader.

 

Only other suggestion that I have would be to call ATTO to see if there are any settings on the UL3S that could be futzed around with to adjust for possible timing issues with the Quantum. They may be aware of some, and the ATTO support is excellent.

 

Russ

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Thanks Russ for the reply.

 

Yes, the UL3S has the versions you quoted. No other devices are on the SCSI chain. Changed cable and terminator with new unit. After this last time, I reset the SuperLoader and tried to do an Update Catalog. It chugged along for a while reading the current tape until it finally stopped with the same error -205. I tried this several times with the exact same result. So then I told Retrospect that that tape was missing and it's been working fine now for a few days.

 

So I don't believe it to be a SCSI problem; now I begin to wonder if it could be something wrong with the media? However the problem has shown up on at least 3 different tapes (Maxell brand, if that helps). And why would bad media cause the SuperLoader to hang?

 

Also, when the SuperLoader hangs, it geneates a software error 24 and drive error 3D which I'm told means something like a tape gets stuck loading or unloading from the drive. But when this has occurred, the tapes are nowhere near full so there does not appear to be any reason why this would be happening.

 

Any other suggestions?

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I don't know about your particular issue, but I can give you an example of how it could happen with the media because I've seen it with our Exabyte VXA-2 drive.

 

Back when (sometime in the past 2 years we have had the drive), it would go into a mode where the tape would just go from one end to the other. Retrospect would appear to be hung but really was just waiting on the drive.

 

Cause turned out to be a bad error recovery routine in the firmware, fixed in an update. Error routines in firmware are very difficult to test and troubleshoot - been there, done that, in drivers I wrote long, long ago.

 

The odd thing, though, somewhat inconsistent with this, is that you have seen it on 3 different tapes. Difficult-to-reproduce errors in a firmware error-recovery routine are usually that, and it's odd that you appear to have a reproducible one.

 

But your symptoms do point to a firmware error ("software error 24 and drive error 3D"). The fingers seem to be pointing to the SuperLoader (and the replacement unit probably would have had the same firmware). This seems to be a rather new product, right? Perhaps there are some kinks that need to be worked out. It might be possible for the Retrospect programmers to work around the bug if it's some sort of timing issue, etc.

 

This really seems like something that Retrospect programmers or support ought to be interacting with Quantum engineers on. I would open a support ticket because it's a bit impossible to solve at the user level.

 

Russ

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I tend to agree this could be a firmware issue in the SuperLoader. But obviously they feel it is a Retrospect issue (don't even get me started on what they say when I tell them it's connected to a Mac).

 

I also don't like that I cannot talk to anyone at EMC about this without paying for it! I purchased the SuperLoader based on it being listed by EMC as compatible with Retrospect. Maybe it's time to take another look at BakBone.....

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