I have received a few calls over the past few days about Backup Tapes being stuck in the drive and won’t eject.
There are a couple of things that can cause this, one is easier to fix than the other.
One reason the tape could be stuck is because your backup software is still running locking the tape device. The easiest way to get the tape out in this situation, is to reboot your machine. If your backup software is still running, rebooting will usually stop the backup and release the drive allowing you to remove the tape. You will need to redo the backup after the boot finished. You may want to check the tape as well to make sure it is not damaged or to dirty. Dirt on the tape is a sign that your tape transport needs to be cleaned with our cleaning cartridge. (Hopefully you are not saying "What cleaning cartridge").
The other reason that can cause a tape not to eject, is that the tape is broken. When a broken tape gets stuck in a drive, the only way, that I am aware of getting it out, is to remove the tape drive from the machine and manually remove the tape. If this needs to be done, i recommend calling the CCS Support Department for help. Forcing it out with pliers or something worse is not the way to go!
Old tapes can stick. This most likely will cause a backup failure. Backup tapes average life span is about 8 months to a year. You can look up where your cartridge falls by checking the manufacturer’s website for the pass life specification. If you are receiving backup failures on certain days only, I would try replacing the tape used on those days to see if that corrects the problem. If it does, I would recommend replacing all of your backup tapes with a similar age.
Old tapes are prone to sticking. This can cause a backup failure. Backup tapes average life span is about 8 months to a year. If you are receiving backup failures on certain days only, I would try replacing the tape assigned to those days to see if that corrects the problem. If it does, I would recommend replacing all of your backup tapes with a similar age also.
Overall consider replacing all tapes in the rotation once a year. If you are using the server for business applications, you should be using about 12 tapes in our rotation. One for each day of the week, 4 quarterly tapes, an annual tape. and a spare tape. Having backups BEFORE any posting or closing operation is critical. If you have ever had a posting fail you know what I mean. Having a spare is great when it is 6P, you what to go home and you are looking at a broken tape.
Remember to label your tapes clearly in a meaningful way. The simplest is to use the days of the week and quarters of the year, i.e. mon, teu, wed, thu, fri, sat, sun, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, 2010. Using numbers only is NOT a good idea. Having too few tapes is asking for trouble, as well. Think of the oil change scenario. Too few oil changes costs more than the money you thought you were saving.
A good practice is to use your cleaning cartridge one a month to keep the transport and the heads clean. A little compressed air in the cartridge opening after cleaning is a good idea as well. Be careful, a compressed air can is not a leaf blower.
Along with the cleaning steps above, it is a good idea to check that the cabinet cooling fans are running and free of dust bunnies and other blockages. You can use your operating system utilities to check the temperature of the cabinet and the components in your server. Overheating can cause excessive tape wear and backup failures. Remember a tape backup can easily run for 30 to 120 minutes on many systems. Plenty of time to overheat on a poorly ventilated system.
If you need to order new backup tapes, or have other related system questions, please call the CCS Retail Systems Support Department at 800-672-4806 or email_us. We can help you identify the type of tape needed to replace your old tapes, service, or repair your tape transport and server..