Lingo Explained: Block Padding (with HP Data Protector)

The term Block Padding is used in backup to tape environments when there is a need for tape copy and backup mirroring. Tape still remains a sequential medium, using different tracks to store data. Therefore, there are slight variations in the overall capacity of individual tapes. This can pose a significant challenge when attempting to make an exact copy from a tape which is slightly larger than the destination tape. Planning for this eventual issue must be done before the initial tape initialization.

HP Data Protector uses a parameter called “OB2BLKPADDING” in the omnirc file on each system (media agent) connected with a tape device. The parameters’ value defines the number of empty blocks to be added on the specific tape. This empty space allows tape content to be copied to another tape of the same type without any problem as the empty space is not copied from the source.

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Tape hardware & tape media troubleshooting with CommVault Simpana 10

Some time ago, I was confronted with some media related problems. The problem originated from tape device persistency not in place on various Linux systems resulting in tape drives being detected on other SCSI addresses.. resulting in hardware failures because the serial number “changed“.

To make sure we were able to map everything in the right order, we had to detect the serial numbers from an operating system level as we were not able to trust the info we saw in the CommVault Simpana Administrative Console. Luckily for us CommVault provides some tools on-the-box to assist you in the task. These tools are available on Linux and Windows Operating Systems.

  • The tool ScanScsiTool is used to list the SCSI ports, WWNs, serial numbers and model/type of the tape different connected tape drives. Additionally the tool allows you to list the different disk drives, libraries and fiber channel cards as well. Basically this tool provides some very usefull information during a troubleshooting session and you want to collect the information directly from the hardware/OS. For more information click here.
  • Another very usefull tool is ARMTool that gives you the ability to collect the tape labels, do some robotic operations (move tape, …) from the operating system level. Please note these operations are not recommended as CommVault is not aware of the changes performed (a manual rescan within Simpana is required). This implies as well that this tool cannot be executed when backups are running. For more information click here.

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CommVault Restore goes in pending modus with error code 32:254

I got called this weekend to look at a CommVault restore of a Linux FileSystem which goes in pending modus with the error message mentioned below. This problem has been encountered on CommVault Simpana 9 Service Pack 14.

Error Code: [32:254] Description: Read operation from media [tapelabel] could not be completed. The reason: Read operation cannot be completed as none of the resources available can be used. Please check the following: 1. There are drives with compatible recording format to the media being read. 2. There are resources (Drives, Libraries, MediaAgents, etc.) that are online and ready to be used. If you still have an issue, please contact customer support.

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CommVault Simpana Error Code [62:506]: Failed to mount media with barcode

Yesterday they asked me to take a closer look at an error they were receiving during a restore operation. To be honest it took me some time to figure this one out. Mainly because the error description was not very clear, nor to the point.

The error happened on a CommVault Simpana 9 Service Pack 14 environment during a restore of an Oracle database.

The error thrown by the restore job indicated an unknown platform error occured: “Error Code: [62:506] – Description: Failed to mount media with barcode [BarcodeLabel], side [A_33692], into drive [myTapeDrive], in library [myTapeLibrary] on MediaAgent [myMediaAgent]. SCSI Operation: Move Media From Slot To Drive. Reason: Unknown platform error. Advice: Please upload log files from CommServe, MediaAgent and Client and contact your vendor’s support hotline with the job ID of the failed job.

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