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Question about Dell PowerVault 100T DAT72 DAT Tape Drive

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Constant Cleaning of new PowerVault 100T DAT72

Dell support is no real help here, and I've been searching the net for about an hour looking for ideas--no dice. Anyway, we have a brand new dell server with a PV 100T Dat72 in it that we got in April '07. For the first couple months everything went fine. Once I started doing larger backups (about 38GB total uncompressed) the drive began asking to be cleaned weekly. The "clean" light would blink slowly, and the tape will have not automatically ejected from the previous night's backup process. Although I thought this to be a little excessive, the guys at Dell assured me that backing up almost 200GB/wk was enough tape activity to require a weekly cleaning. Well, last week, it started asking me to clean the drive daily. At this point, I was sure there was something wrong with the drive. So, I called Dell Support and they sent a tech out to replace the drive with a new one. They did that yesterday, and what did I find when I came in this morning? The &*$^*( "clean" light was blinking again. At this point, it makes me suspect my media. I've been using a on-week tape rotation with the same tapes since we started using the drive. We do an off-site backup monthly with a brand new tape. So, for tonight's backup, I'm going to try a new tape to see if the "clean" light is blinking again. I couldn't find any references on the net as to the accepted "normal" lifespan of a DAT72 tape. Now, here's the twist on the whole thing: I have another server with a DAT72 drive also a PV100T) in it, but I am using DDS4 media in it because the amount of data I'm backing up doesn't require the DAT72 tapes. This drive is backing up about 5GB/night or close to 30/wk. This less-used drive does not complain that it needs to be cleaned. In fact, since April, when we started using it, it asked to be cleaned only once. Ideas? I'm stumped, and I don't want to call Dell back yet because I might have to eat my words about the "defective" drive if it turns out to be a media problem.

Posted by Chad Douglas on

  • 1 more comment 
  • Chad Douglas Jun 14, 2007

    Despite the fact that this drive is only 3 months old, and I had Dell replace it with a brand new one?

  • NetizenMT Mar 24, 2008

    There are a lot of similar posts on the Dell forums, but no solutions. After having our tape drive replaced 3 times with no change, I finally decided to just ignore the light and clean the drive about once a month. New tapes and new tape head cleaners do not solve the problem.

  • Anonymous Nov 20, 2008

    Given the amount of other people with this error it is likely a design fault / firmware issue with this drive model. Dell Tech support are of no help beyond, "sorry because its after your 1 yr warranty so the only solution is to purchase a new one". Drives shouldn't be failing so conisitently like this.

    Any one for a class action suit?



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Tape drives do need cleaning frequently and the 'auto clean' facility may not be enough. The problem is the continuous shedding of oxide needs cleaning right off and the auto system may not be enough. What you need is a back-up Drive. and the out of service drive needs physically stripping down to clean all off using a soft brush and where appropriate coproponal alcohol

Posted on Jun 14, 2007

  • Anonymous Jun 14, 2007

    It is not so much the drives but the quality of the Media it sheds oxide.
    Check Dell see what they recommend pr perhaps you checkout suppliers of other brands



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Please coem back and rate the solution if this turns to be helpful for you.

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