Recently it was time to refresh a client’s disaster recovery solution. We were getting ready to release our dependance on our 5 year old HP MSL2024 with an LTO-4 tape drive, and implement a new HP MSL2024 library with a SAS LTO-6 tape drive. We need to use tape since the size of the backup requirements for a full back up are over 6TB.
The server that is connected to all this equipment is an HP Proliant DL360 G6 with a HP Smart Array P800 Controller. The P800 already has an HP StorageWorks MSA60 unit attached to it with 12 drive
Documentation for the P800 mentioned tape drive support. While I know that the P800 is only capable of 3Gb/sec, this is more that enough and chances are the hard drive will be maxed out reading anyways.
Anyways, client approved purchase, brought in the hardware and installed it. First we had to install Backup Exec 2012 (since only the 2012 SP1a HCL specifies support for LTO-6), which was messy but we did it. Then we re-configured all of our backup jobs, since the old jobs were migrated horribly.
When trying to run our first backup, the backup failed. I tried again numerous times, only to get these errors:
- Storage device “HP 07″ reported an error on a request to rewind the media.
- Final error: 0xe00084f0 – The device timed out.
- Storage device “HP 07″ reported an error on a request to write data to media.
- Storage device “HP 6″ reported an error on a request to write data to media.
- PvlDrive::DisableAccess() – ReserveDevice failed, offline device
- ERROR = 0x0000001F (ERROR_GEN_FAILURE)
Also, every time the backup would fail, the Library and the Tape drive would disappear from the computers “Device Manager”. Essentially the device would lose it’s connection. Even when logging in to the HP MSL2024 web interface, it would state the SAS port is disconnected after a backup job would fail. To resolve this, you’d have to restart the library and restart the Backup Exec services. One interesting thing, when this occurred, my companies monitoring and management software would report a RAID failure had occured at the customers site, until the MSL was restarted (this was kinda cool).
I immediately called HP support. They mentioned the library had a firmware up 5.80 and asked to try to update. We did and it failed since the firmware file didn’t match it’s checksum, I was told that this is not important as 5.90 doesn’t contain any major changes. We continued to spend 6 hours on the phone trying to disable insight agents, check drivers, etc… Finally he decided to replace the tape drive.
Since LTO-6 is brand new technology, even with a 4 hour response contract, it took HP around 2 weeks to replace the drive since none were in Canada. During this time, I called two other separate times. The second tech told me that at the moment, no HP controllers support the HP LTO-6 tape drives (you’re kidding me right?), and the 3rd said he couldn’t provide me any information as there’s nothing in the documentation that specifies what controllers were compatible. All 3 tech’s mentioned that having the P800 controller in the server host both the MSA60 and the MSL2024 is probably causing the issues.
We received the new tape drive, tested, and the backups failed. I sent the drive back (which was a repaired unit, and kept the original brand new one). After this I tried numerous things, google’d for days. Finally I was just about to quote the client a new controller card, when I finally decided to give HP another call.
On this call, he escalated the issue to engineers. Later that night I received an e-mail stating that library firmware 5.90 is required for support for the LTO-6 tape drives. I was shocked, angry, etc… It turns out that library firmware 5.80 was “Recalled” due to major issues a while back.
Since LTT couldn’t load the firmware, I just downloaded it manually and flashed it via the MSL 2024 web interface. After this restarted the Backup Exec services, performed an inventory, and did a minor backup (around 130GB). Keep in mind that when the backups originally failed, it didn’t matter the size, the backup would simply fail just before it completed.
The backup completed! Later on that night I ran a full complete backup of 5TB (2 servers and 2 MSA60s) and it completely 100% successfully. Even with the MSA60 under extreme load maxing out the drives, this did not in any way impede performance of the LTO-6 tape drive/library.
So please, if you’re having this issue consider the following:
1. Tape library must be at firmware version 5.90 to support LTO-6 Tape drives. Always always always make sure you have the latest firmware.
2. I have a working configuration of a P800 controlling both an HP MSA60, and a HP MSL 2024 backup library and it’s working 100%
3. Make sure you have Backup Exec 2012 SP1a installed as it’s required for LTO-6 compatibility (make sure you read about the major changes upgrading to 2012 first, I can’t stress this enough!!!)
I hope this helps some of you out there as this was consuming my life for numerous weeks.