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Automated tape drive cleaning

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How do people manage their tape drive cleaning with Acronis Backup 12.5?

We have automated cleaning on our Lenovo (IBM) TS3200 library. (library detects the drive needs cleaning and after the tape is eventually ejected it cleans the drive).

If Acronis is writing a backup that spans 2 tapes it gets a scsii sense error when loading the 2nd tape and fails the backup.

The funny thing is a manual re-run of the job fails because of a tape in the drive - the one that the previous attempt tried to load into the drive.

It's not that funny though when the job is 30 hr replication that fails at the 29th hour.

Do you people manually run cleaning tapes on a regular basis or use the error and task handling settings? I had task retries set but that didn't work. I've just set the "error handling" to retry a couple of times over a few minutes. Is there another way?

I know a couple of the other backup products manage the tape cleaning themselves, detecting the tape drive cleaning request while others seem to work with the library managing the cleaning.  I'm not into manually cleaning tape drives; I don't have the time and it increases the wear on the drive.





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Support specialist
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Hello IT at Vision,

thank you for posting at Acronis forums!

If Acronis is writing a backup that spans 2 tapes it gets a scsii sense error when loading the 2nd tape and fails the backup.

What is this error message? Could you please share an activity log that contains this error? 

Automated tape cleanup is carried out via retention rules. Retention rules are specified within a backup plan and generally define how to delete or move the backups created by this plan. From tape vaults retention rules cannot move backups to further locations. When retention rules are applied to an archive, the backup that should be retained is not deleted from the tape, but is marked for deletion with a trash icon. Tape is never cleaned by the retention rules and the backups are not physically removed from tapes or tape database. 

In order to completely remove information about a backup from the vault, tape database and TapeLocation folder, tape with this backup should be  erasedremoved or overwritten. Thus the only way that backup data is cleaned up automatically, is that the tape containing this backup is overwritten by a new backup. Conditions for a tape to be overwritten are the following:

  • Every backup on the tape is marked for deletion.
  • All dependent backups on other tapes (differential and incremental) become subject to deletion as well

Another way of tape data cleanup is moving tapes to Free tapes pool: 

When you move a tape to the Free tapes pool, the software marks it as empty. If the tape contains backups, they are marked with the trash icon. When the software starts overwriting the tape, the data related to the backups will be removed from the database.


Regular Poster
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Hello, I suppose this is not about the tape/backups cleanup, but about a tape driver cleaning.

Unfortunately this is a known issue that will be fixed in the next versions (internal # ABR-123799).

Until that I suggest to mount a cleaning tape to a drive via UI to forcibly perform clean drive operation and avoid such situations.

Posts: 4
Comments: 6


Thanks Andrey,

This is good news about the next version(s). The best way is definitely allowing the library or backup software to manage the tape drive cleaning. It minimises the wear on the tape drive heads. Putting a cleaning tape through a drive before it is needed is not recommended.

I am in the process of set up a new monitoring system but but if the drive gets elevated errors in the middle of the night or on the weekend it may not get addressed for a while and it disrupts the work-life balance for the staff. Computers are to be our tools, not our masters.

Thanks again,