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tape drive backup - mtx, mx, and tar...

 Using an LTO3 robotic tape library on Linux, is there any way to tell if a 
tape is at the end of its run by /var/log/messages entries, or via mt or 
mtx or other requests, or if the tape has a genuine problem? 

I recently had a hard drive fail on another backup system on a Friday 
evening, and I wanted to get backup running on it asap.  I simply ended up 
installing the OS (CentOS) from CDs, retyped a shell script I created, and 
backups were running fine.   This was a reason why something like bacula, 
amanda, etc might be too cumbersome to rebuild in a short period of time. 
I'd be more than happy to hear argument contrary to this thinking. 

/var/log/messages shows: 

Current: sense key: Not Ready 
Additional sense: Logical unit not ready, operation in progress 
Error on write filemark 

The drive is pretty new, and I was doing weekly backups, now doing daily 
incrementals.   How do I tell if the tape is broken, at the end of its 
reel, or if the drive is dirty?  I'm doing incremental backups to two 
tapes each night, and the other tape worked fine, making me think the 
"bad" tape either is full or has a physical problem. 

I tried a rewind and tar xvf but get errors. 

Thanks for any insights. 


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