Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv8/9)

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Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv8/9)

Veeam Logoby craze » Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:24 am

This problem first appeared in B&R 8x, with the change to remote tape providers vs accessing tape devices directly connected to the server running B&R in version 7x. Even when the "remote" tape server is in actuality the local server that is running B&R as well as the management console, automatic polling of the status of standalone tape devices is entirely nonfunctional. You have to manually initiate an inventory operation on the drive in question in order for it to update its status(eg: whether it is loaded or not, and which tape is present if any, as well as updating the online/offline status of said tape if it happens to be cataloged). This is a version-killer for large file-to-tape backup jobs, where you are manually changing tapes throughout the job run, which may take up to 10 tape changes in some instances. With the new tape communication topology introduced in version 8 and onwards, you have to manually perform an inventory operation on the drive every time you insert a new tape in order for it to be detected by the software, regardless of if you do so when instructed by a running backup job after it ejects the full tape, or if the system is merely idle and you have manually loaded a tape, or if you simply pressed the physical eject button on the drive. Furthermore, the inventory task itself takes over 70 seconds to correctly identify a drive as empty if ran when the drive is as such for some unknown reason, whereas it only takes roughly 25 seconds to identify a loaded cartridge.

I originally rolled back to B&R 7x to avoid this issue, however I have recently upgraded my host to esxi 6x, which is unsupported by B&R 7x. As a result I had to upgrade to version 9.5, only to find that all the problems I experienced with the 8x branch are still present. Obviously I could run two separate guests, with different versions of B&R on each, and then attach them to the same storage repository(I'm using SMB as my transport, as is the only option for communication with a freenas machine(or VM in my case), so it would technically be possible to have two separate versions of B&R attached to the same repository, since the veeam network transport provider isn't being used in this configuration), using one machine to interface with esxi 6x and push veeamzip files of my VMs onto the repo and the second machine to dump them to tape, but that is such a hideous kludge for something that should work correctly in the first place, that I don't even want to think about what could go wrong with a setup such as that...

My setup is esxi 6x, on a free license, guest OS for veeam is server 2008 r2 with B&R 9.5(also on a free license), and the tape drive(an HP Ultrium 1840 full height internal(LTO4)) is passed to the guest by using vt-d on the SCSI HBA that it is connected to(seeing as how vmware "blacklisted" the passthrough of SCSI tape devices via the native SCSI passthrough feature, this is my only option other than building an entire separate physical server and using iSCSI(out of the question)). While it might seem to be a "janky" setup, I've thoroughly tested this vt-d based configuration under esxi 5.5 and B&R 7x, and it has functioned flawlessly for two years now. It was only when I upgraded my esxi installation to the 6x branch and thus needed to update B&R as well that the issues with the tape drive status polling appeared once more.

The documentation says that after a remote tape provider is configured "Afterward, the auto-discovery process will be performed periodically every 3 minutes." I've let it idle for 30+ minutes after inserting a cataloged cartridge, and the drive still reports its status as empty until I manually inventory it(as I stated earlier, under the old tape topology in B&R 7x, the tape drives status would be updated automatically whenever it was loaded or unloaded, and update nearly instantly at that).

Is there any solution out there for this? Or is my only option really to roll back to B&R 7x for proper tape support. Any assistance with this matter would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:18 pm

Hi craze,

You have to manually initiate an inventory operation on the drive in question in order for it to update its status(eg: whether it is loaded or not, and which tape is present if any, as well as updating the online/offline status of said tape if it happens to be cataloged).

Said behavior is true for idle state of tape drive (tape job is not running). If tape job is sitting in ‘waiting for tape’ state it runs the inventory in the background from time to time (assuming - every minute)

I guess its time to setup the newly released v9.5 and test the tape functionality once again.
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby craze » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:51 pm

Dima P. wrote:I guess its time to setup the newly released v9.5 and test the tape functionality once again.

Well, I appreciate that greatly. Thank you.

Dima P. wrote:Said behavior is true for idle state of tape drive (tape job is not running). If tape job is sitting in ‘waiting for tape’ state it runs the inventory in the background from time to time (assuming - every minute)

...however I would also appreciate it if the drives were polled regardless of whether a job was running or not; it makes inventorying fresh drives and adding them to the appropriate media set exceptionally slow. Especially when you're dealing with 50+ tapes. Perhaps even if the polling interval was a user configurable parameter(say.... 5 seconds?), to bring us closer to the near instantaneous status updates of B&R 7x.

I suppose adding an option to use the old style(7x) tape communication framework is out of the question(communication with directly attached devices, directly from B&R without the use of a remote transport, as my drive is directly connected to the machine running B&R).

Regardless, thank you very much for taking the time to reply and look in to this matter, I eagerly await a resolution.
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby craze » Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:02 am

Any news on this, or a way for me to track progress on getting a fix? As right now I'm looking at having to roll back to the 7x branch in order to maintain basic usability.
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:03 pm

Hi craze,

Especially when you're dealing with 50+ tapes. Perhaps even if the polling interval was a user configurable parameter(say.... 5 seconds?)

You would like to have a scheduled inventory job not linked to your tape backup job, right? As I understood for your post, you are using the standalone device, so loading/unloading tape media is performed manually anyway. As described, tape job performs inventory when new media is required. Are you looking for an automated inventory to speed up the recovery process?


P.S. Found a possible workaround for you. Since, it's possible to trigger the inventory via PowerShell, you can create a scheduled script to inventory your device .
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[MERGED] Veeam not recognizing tape change

Veeam Logoby BrendaS » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:47 pm

I recently added a Dell LTO-6 SAS tape drive to my Veeam 9.5 installation.

Everything works fine except it doesn't recognise whenever I change a tape. If I do an inventory, it updates the information.

I initially worked around this by including a before job powershell script which does an inventory.

Problem is, I tried to do a multi-tape backup and it thought I put the same tape back in and aborted with a critical error.

Backup exec has never been installed, initially I used the default windows tape driver, there is no Dell windows server LTO-6 driver. The mech is an IBM drive, so I hunted around and found a very recent IBM driver but that didn't make a difference. Updating the Dell H200 HBA driver didn't make a difference either.

Any ideas?
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby v.Eremin » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:03 pm

As mentioned above, scheduling inventory via Windows Task Scheduler might be a way to go. Thanks.
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby BrendaS » Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:21 am

v.Eremin wrote:As mentioned above, scheduling inventory via Windows Task Scheduler might be a way to go. Thanks.


It doesn't help when you change tapes on a multi-tape backup, Veeam recognises the tape immediately and then aborts the job, wasting several hours of backup and making a multi-tape job impossible to do.
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby v.Eremin » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:52 pm

Not sure whether I got it. The running job (whenever it needs a new tape to write to) will try to inventory tape drive automatically on predefined basis (15 minutes, I believe). Thanks.
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[MERGED] Change tapes with automatic inventory

Veeam Logoby thr-hn » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:33 am

Hello all,
we use b&r since a few weeks and there is one thing, we think it should be possible to run.
We installed b&r 9.5 sp1 on a Windows server 2016.
There is a single IBM Ultrium LTO 6 drive.
We built 2 backup to tape jobs (monday to frieday and a GFS on Saturday).
All of our tapes we assigned to one of the two Media Pools
Both jobs are working well. :)
Now the Problem: We expected, that if we change the tapes at the IBM LTO 6, Veeam will recognize the tape and the next backup job can run without doing anything else. Indeed it is so, that we have to inventory the current tape every time we change the tape.
If the Veeam Admin is not online for an day, we’ll miss the next backup job because Veeam don’t recognize the tape.
Is there a possibility, that Veeam always inventory the tape automatically every time I change the tape?
Or can I run a job to inventory the current tape in the drive (Maybe an other person can change the tape without admin authorization)?
Thank you for your answers.
Thomas
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Re: Change tapes with automatic inventory

Veeam Logoby Dima P. » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:53 am

Hi thr-hn,
If the Veeam Admin is not online for an day, we’ll miss the next backup job because Veeam don’t recognize the tape.

There is a built-in waiting timer and email notification reporting. Job awaits for new tap to be inserted and sends waiting tape email notification.
Is there a possibility, that Veeam always inventory the tape automatically every time I change the tape?

Unfortunately, there is no other way to identify that tape was loaded to the drive.
Or can I run a job to inventory the current tape in the drive (Maybe an other person can change the tape without admin authorization)?

This is possible via UI or via PowerShell script.
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby v.Eremin » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:08 am 1 person likes this post

Speaking about PowerShell approach, take a look at this script (just disregard the last string that is responsible for ejecting tape). Thanks.
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby thr-hn » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:34 am

Thank you very much!
The script works if I run into the PowerShell.
Unfortunately I'am a novice and don't know how to create a PowerShell file and I also don't know how to execute it every day at the same time.
Can you help me once again?
Thomas
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby v.Eremin » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:22 pm

Open a notepad, paste the following code, inputting name of your standalone drive, and save the resulting file with .ps1 extension:

Code: Select all
asnp VeeamPSSnapin
$Library = Get-VBRTapeLibrary -name "Name of your tape drive"
Start-VBRTapeInventory -Library $Library -Wait   


Then, create a task in Windows Scheduler and let it run on whatever basis you want to (more information regarding scheduling scripts can be found here; take a look at the "Scheduling the script" portion).

Also, our PowerShell guide might be helpful.

Thanks.
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Re: Standalone tape drive status polling not functional(B&Rv

Veeam Logoby thr-hn » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:01 pm 1 person likes this post

Thank you for your help.
I got it. But Ihave do somthing else. Which I tell now.
1. At PowerShell
You should run the command: Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned.Otherwise the script don't run.
2. Use the Windows Scheduler (in German: Aufgabenplanung) Execute as Administrator.
3. General (i don't if this is the right name. I use a german version)
Idepentenly of the Admins registration.
3. Actions: Run Programm
Programm/Script: powershell.exe
Argument: -noninteractive -command "&{"name of your directrory\file_name.ps1"}"

Now, the script works and we can cange our tape without manually push the Inventory button.
The script will do this.
Thomas
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