What is a Tape Alert and why do they appear in Backup Exec job logs?


What is a Tape Alert and why do they appear in Backup Exec job logs?

Error Message

----- TapeAlert Events -----


A "tape alert" message is a critical, warning or informational alert that occurred due to a tape drive or robotic library hardware event. These "tape alert" messages are stored on the tape drive or robotic library. Applications like Backup Exec can query the tape device or robotic library for these "tape alert" messages and display the "tape alerts" to the user. In the case of Backup Exec, "tape alert" messages are reported in the Backup Exec job log. It is important to remember that while Backup Exec displays these "tape alerts", the alert occurred due to a tape drive or robotic library hardware event. Backup Exec reads this log and displays the errors for the user.  For further information on Tape Alerts, please consult with the tape drive manufacturer.

Tape Alerts are generated when the tape drive or tape experiences the following conditions:

  • Drive recoverable read problems  
  • Drive recoverable write problems  
  • Drive unrecoverable read problems  
  • Drive unrecoverable write problems  
  • Drive hardware defects  
  • Worn-out media  
  • Expired cleaning tapes  
  • Wrong media used  
  • Abnormal error conditions  
  • Auto loader/library mechanical problems  
  • Auto loader/library environmental conditions


Examples of Tape Alerts:

Example 1:
----- Tape Alert Events -----
Device: QUANTUM 0
A severe error occurred while reading or writing data. This job may not have been successfully completed.
Device: QUANTUM 0
The tape drive needs cleaning:
1. If the operation has stopped, eject the tape and clean the drive.
2. If the operation has not stopped, wait for it to finish and then clean the drive.
Check the tape drive users manual for device specific cleaning instructions.
Device: QUANTUM 0
The tape is from a faulty batch or the tape drive is faulty:
1. Use a good tape to test the drive.
2. If the problem persists, call the tape drive supplier help line.

Example 2:
----- Tape Alert Events -----
Device: DELL 1
The tape drive is having problems reading data. No data has been lost, but there has been a reduction in the performance of the tape.

Following steps can be performed to isolate this issue:
1) Clean the drive once or twice and run the backup job. Check when was the last time cleaning operation was done.  This could be the cause.  Incase the cleaning operation does not help, then either it is particular "TAPE" or its drive that is faulty.
2) Try new Tape and check if you are still getting this error this will help isolating the issue.
3) Incase the new tape also reports the same error, Go to the devices tab in Backup Exec , right click on the device and go to properties and check for the statistics: Hard and Soft read/write errors.
Note:Hard read and write error is a clear indication of Hardware (Drive) issue.
4) Install the latest Symantec Drivers. Symantec tape device and robotic library drivers for Backup Exec can be found at:
For complete list of Industry Standard Tape Alert Error Flags please refer to the technote  http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH7645 


Terms of use for this information are found in Legal Notices.



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