Number of times tape has been written to

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Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby snzhang2 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:43 pm

We are using HPE StoreEver MSL6480 Tape Library with Veeam B&R 9.0 to backup our VMware backup. We wanted to know if Veeam B&R can tell how many times a LTO-6 tape has been written to.
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:53 pm

Hi snzhang2,

Veeam B&R does not track this information. Once we receive the alert that media is expired, it’s going to be moved to expired media pool automatically.
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby Shestakov » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:56 pm

Hello Nan,
Could you explain your request, do you need the info to know how old the tape is?
Thanks!
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby snzhang2 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:06 pm

The written-to information would be useful if we have, for example, a set of 50 tapes, it would help us balance which ones to use in a rotation.

But based on the reply, it seems that Veeam B&R only looks at the tape media status (expired or not) in determining if it can still be used.
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby rreed » Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:24 pm

This feature would also be extremely useful in forecasting when to buy new tapes...
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby Shestakov » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:11 pm

rreed,
I also thought about that but that may be tricky to count if you write to the different parts of tape, i.e. on Monday you fill the first 20% of LTO-6 and Tuesday the second 20% etc. so by Friday you will have 5 writes on tape which should be count as 1 rather than 5. In another scenario you will not fill the whole tape but reuse some parts more times others.
What do you think?
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby rreed » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:25 pm

An excellent point and question. My understanding is as of at least LTO-4, tapes have an on-board RFID chip that holds the tape's read/write history, maybe 1-2 other things. Every time it's used by a drive some data gets written to it, and I believe that's where the tape notifies the drive "hey I'm done, no more." Perhaps you guys could investigate pulling that data to help discern end of life? For me I'm looking more toward end of a given tape's life, rather than a human decision of "I've written to it 200 times, so I'd better go ahead and replace it," if that makes sense.
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby Shestakov » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:34 pm

Yeah, we will investigate it, thanks for the feedback!
And how do you currently decide if tape is overused and no data should be written anymore?
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby mfo » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:48 am 1 person likes this post

This information might be available from your tape vendors tools.
We use a Quantum Autoloader and I can see the wear level of the currently loaded tape in the "Quantum Dashboard" programm.
It gives information on read and written data and a percentage value for wear level.
The downside of this is that you'd have to load every tape manually to examine these values.
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby rreed » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:02 pm

This is my first forray into tape w/ Veeam, and since the functionality is not yet there, and our drive/tapes are all very new, I guess we'll wait until a tape just outright breaks or starts having lots of problems. Otherwise, I don't know how we'll know when a tape is at EOL. This is also the first time I've done tape in some years, but I seem to recall other older tape software would warn you when a tape was reaching EOL, or at least give you some sort of "hey you've written to this tape x-amount of times, you should consider retiring it soon."
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby Shestakov » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:22 pm

Yeah, as was mentioned above, there is a chip in tapes signalizing tape`s EOL and as Dima wrote above VBR sends those tapes to the "Expired" media pool.
We will work on getting the EOL progress to show VBR customers for how long the tape is expected to operate.
Thanks for your feedbacks!
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby snzhang2 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:08 pm

Thanks Nikita. You and the others on this thread have been very informative.

Look forward to seeing the EOL progress feature in VBR in the future. It would be very helpful.
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:23 pm

Guys,

To be clear. We noted this feature request and will investigate if it’s possible. However, that's not something we are going to include in upcoming release.
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby Shestakov » Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:49 pm

.. since release is going to be this month :)
Nan, you are welcome. Once you have a feedback or question don`t hesitate sharing!
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Re: Number of times tape has been written to

Veeam Logoby EnerconIT » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:03 pm

Backup Exec also records the following for individual tapes, we would request these as a feature request also since we have found value in the past before moving to VBR.

Total In Use Hours
Total Mounts
Total Seeks
Total Seek Errors
Total Write Soft Errors
Total Write Hard Errors
Total Read Soft Errors
Total Read Hard Errors
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