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Finding replacement for Cache-A that works with existing media server

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Lee Warner
Finding replacement for Cache-A that works with existing media server
on Nov 27, 2017 at 7:57:17 pm

Cache-A was bought by ProMax a few years ago. Unfortunately ProMax will no longer be supporting the line past 2017. Our current Cache-A is starting to consistently error on backups so the hunt begins for a replacement unit that works with existing infrastructure.
Replacement unit would need to work with 48tb Aberdeen Server (2012) running Windows Server 2008. Also needs to work with CatDV as well as hopefully read the Tar formatted LTO 5 tapes that Cache-A created.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Lee


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Jack McGee
Re: Finding replacement for Cache-A that works with existing media server
on Nov 27, 2017 at 8:37:35 pm

Our Cache-A started exhibiting many errors. I used the Cache-A machine to restore TAR tapes. Our internal LTO drive was apparently good. I put a live Ubuntu installation on USB stick, plugged it into front of Cache-A. Plugged a NTFS formatted raid drive onto USB in back. That drive mounted at /media/ubuntu/CacheARestore


Booted off the Ubuntu USB, it detected the internal LTO drive. I used the CAT DV tech note to restore the TAR tapes. VERY slow process, but it works. You have to rerun the command maybe hundreds of times to restore all the files. But it does work.

the command I used:
sudo tar xvf /dev/nst0 -b 300 -C /media/ubuntu/CacheARestore


Eject:
mt -f /dev/nst0 off

Rewind:
sudo mt -f /dev/nst0


I'm not aware of any other way to restore the TAR tapes, other that a current day Promax solution.



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Lee Warner
Re: Finding replacement for Cache-A that works with existing media server
on Nov 27, 2017 at 8:44:02 pm

Jack,

Thanks for the quick reply however I'm not looking to recover tapes with errors. All my backups minus the most current are good. I'm looking for a replacement LTO drive that will work with existing server connections, Win Server 2008 OS and is compatible with CatDV. The big bonus is if the replacement LTO unit will read LTO-5 TAR formatted tapes as well.

Any thoughts?

Lee


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Jack McGee
Re: Finding replacement for Cache-A that works with existing media server
on Nov 28, 2017 at 3:10:23 pm

We didn't have any tapes with errors. I was only speaking to your "bonus" point.

There is only one machine out there that will read those TAR tapes. I think that is the new Promax LTO machine.

If you don't buy a Promax machine, you have to use the commands I gave or similar, to restore the TAR tapes.

We went with 1 Beyond LTFS solution with CATDV bundled. It can't read the TAR tapes.



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Tom Goldberg
Re: Finding replacement for Cache-A that works with existing media server
on Nov 28, 2017 at 6:02:04 pm

In fact any linux or unix machine with an appropriate mounted LTO drive can read Cache-A tar tapes.

The general form is to issue the command Jack wrote in his previous post, although this can be automated with the command:
while [ 1 ]; do tar -xvf /dev/nst0 -b 300 -C /media/vtape/restore_directory/; done
Full instructions for doing so may be found at Reading Cache-A Tar Tech Brief.

I would note that if a Cache-A unit serves your environment (as it sounds like it does for Lee) there is no reason to stop using it just because ProMax is dropping it. Errors occurring during backups are due to correctable causes:

  • Make sure your source drive(s) have a reliable route to the Cache-A - sometimes errors like these are just a bad ethernet cable or switch

  • Run a cleaning tape to eliminate the possibility that this is just due to dirty heads

  • Run fsck on the Cache-A file system to detect and correct file system errors. You can also run the smartctl commands to check on the health of your disk drives. (any linux guy can help with these or contact me for instructions)

  • Run HP tape tools analysis to check on the health of the tape drive (installed on every Cache-A - run by issuing the command /opt/ltt/hp_ltt) - replacing the tape drive is much less costly than buying a whole new system



  • Tom Goldberg
    TGCS
    30201 Rainbow Hill Rd.
    Evergreen, CO 80439
    mailto:tomgoldberg@gmail.com
    http://tomgoldberg.net




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    Lee Warner
    Re: Finding replacement for Cache-A that works with existing media server
    on Nov 28, 2017 at 7:15:13 pm

    Thanks Tom,

    That helps a lot!

    Lee


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    Lee Warner
    Re: Finding replacement for Cache-A that works with existing media server
    on Dec 4, 2017 at 5:26:11 pm

    Tom Goldberg

    I finally was able to attempt to run FSCK from the Cache-A terminal app. When I did, I got a warning

    "Warning!!! The filesystem is mounted. If you continue you ***WILL*** cause ***SEVERE*** filesystem damage.
    Do you really want to continue?

    Of course I replied ***NO***

    Knowing little to nothing about Unix commands, would you mind letting me know how to proceed?

    Lee


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    Tom Goldberg
    Re: Finding replacement for Cache-A that works with existing media server
    on Dec 5, 2017 at 3:53:13 pm

    Hi Lee

    I've never seen that warning, perhaps you tried this with your server mounted? Disconnect any source volumes.

    The command you should run is fsck -C /dev/md0

    If that still gives you such a warning, or if you need further assistance, please contact me by email off-forum and I'll try to help you out.

    Tom Goldberg
    TGCS
    30201 Rainbow Hill Rd.
    Evergreen, CO 80439
    mailto:tomgoldberg@gmail.com
    http://tomgoldberg.net




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