45442: Acronis Backup Advanced: Troubleshooting Tape Detection Issues

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    When backing up to a magnetic tape media, you may encounter issues with device detection or read/write operations. This article provides instructions on how to troubleshoot and resolve such issues.

    Follow these steps to troubleshoot issues with backing up to magnetic tape media:

    1. Get familiar with technology of devices and tapes in the About part.
    2. Check for known issues in the Known issues part.
    3. Follow the Troubleshooting part to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.

    About tapes

    Tape devices use magnetic tape media to store information and can be divided into 3 types:

    - Standalone tape drives. Here one tape cartridge can be inserted into the device and used. To write or read data from other tape cartridge, the previous tape has to be ejected and taken out from the drive first.

    - Tape library is a device that apart from a tape drive (one or more) has also additional slots to store tape cartridges. Via the device or third-party software interface tapes can be moved between slots and drives. A slot that allows inserting new tapes and ejecting tapes is called mail slot. Tapes in tape libraries usually have unique barcodes which can be optically read by the reader during inventory. The barcode duplicates the information stored in tags placed in the beginning of the tape data.

    - Virtual tape library (VTL) is a storage virtualization technology, that allows the representation of a storage device as a tape library or a tape drive. Usually is it used to represent a hard disk storage device as a tape library, in a special case an RDX device.

    When speaking of tape types, LTO is a major standard and the version of the LTO tape cartridge defines its characteristics including capacity. Modern generation LTO-3 and LTO-4 come with HDD competitive read/write speed of 80 and 120 MB/s and capacity of 400 GB and 800 GB respectively.
    Tapes are storage media that can only be read sequentially as opposed to HDDs, and per ABR tape vault format we can only add something to the free end of the tape, but we cannot re-write a part of the tape and place new information keeping some piece of previous information. Tape will always be overwritten completely.

    How-To, Guides and Known Issues

    Title Related to
    Acronis Backup & Recovery 11/11.5: Tape Support Product usage
    Acronis Backup 11.7/11.5 and Acronis Backup & Recovery 11: Changing the TapeLocation Folder Product usage
    Acronis Backup 11.7/11.5 and Acronis Backup & Recovery 11: ARSM is always installed in the default folder Installation behavior
    Acronis Backup & Recovery 11.5: Tape Write Block Size Cannot Be Changed Software limitations

    Troubleshooting

    Follow step-by-step instructions below to troubleshoot the issue. Complete prerequisites step before proceeding to error troubleshooting step.

    1. Prerequisites

    Complete all steps before proceeding to error troubleshooting step.

    Check whether the device is supported by Acronis Backup Advanced. Click here to download the list of tape devices in the latest build of Acronis Backup Advanced 11.7.

    For Acronis Backup Advanced (Acronis Backup & Recovery) to properly work with a tape device, the device must be correctly installed in the operating system. In Windows Device Manager you should see all the tape drives listed in the Tape drives section. In the device properties you should find the device name (Tape0, Tape1...) and tape characteristics (block size and compression rate). Medium Changers section must contain Tape Libraries.

    All operations with tapes in Acronis Backup are performed by the Acronis Removable Storage Management Service (ARSM). So it is also fully responsible for recognition of devices in the ABR. This service is always installed on C:, even if another folder and volume were specified during installation.

    In ABR tape management you can force the tape device detection by clicking detect tape devices. It will then show all available tape devices on the system.
    In addition, run the inventory of the tapes to make sure that all tape cartridges are shown correctly in the device. Fast inventory will only check the barcodes of the tapes where as the full inventory will read the tags on the tapes.

    Whenever working with tape devices, check that on the machine where the device is physically attached, the ARSM service is up and running under Local System account. Remember that both Windows Agent and Storage Node can work with ARSM service, but at least one of them is also required on the machine.
    Also do not forget to check that the tape device is supported and is not blocked by other software. See Acronis Backup & Recovery 11/11.5: Tape Support for more information.

    2. Error troubleshooting

     Complete all steps before proceeding to collect information step.

    If in Device Manager you see that the tape device is recognized incorrectly or does not show tape specific characteristics, then most probably wrong device drivers were installed or they were installed incorrectly.

    Download the latest drivers from device vendor site for the OS in question, delete the device from Device Manager, re-detect it, and if it is not detected correctly automatically, install the downloaded drivers manually.

    ARSM finds tape devices based on information from the operating system, so whenever you fail to detect a tape device, check that tape devices are shown correctly by running the tapes.exe tool from Tape Detection Tools. It should show the same information you can find in the device properties in device manager. If it does not, then double-check that the device driver is installed correctly.
    If device detection lasts for too long and never finishes, you can manually provide the details of the tape device by following Acronis Backup & Recovery Advanced: How to Force Tape Detection.
    In case the device is suspected to be recognized incorrectly in ABR tape management, run the mtx_test.exe tool from Tape Detection Tools, it will show you the full information about device so you can compare it with the tape management output.

    If all steps above have been executed and issue still persists, go to collect information step.

    3. Collect information

     Collect following information and contact Acronis Customer Central.

    1. Output of tapes.exe tool from Tape Detection Tools.
    2. Collect System Report from the machine in question: see instruction for Acronis Backup 11.7/11.5 Generating System Report, if this fails for any reason, you can use this AcronisInfo Utility.
    3. Screenshots of Windows Device Manager that correctly displays the tape device.

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