I have a Dell PowerEdge SC1425 server with a USB tape drive. From dmesg:
umass0:0:0:-1: Attached to scbus0
sa0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus0 target 0 lun 0
sa0: <QUANTUM DLT-V4 0A00> Removable Sequential Access SCSI-2 device
sa0: 40.000MB/s transfers
The problem is that it randomly throws tape errors during writes:
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sa0 bs=1m
dd: /dev/sa0: Input/output error
3272+0 records in
3271+0 records out
3429892096 bytes transferred in 136.946745 secs (25045444 bytes/sec)
# dmesg | tail
(sa0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): failed to write terminating filemark(s)
This doesn't happen *every* time, but often enough that Amanda backups
fail regularly and I'm getting nervous about what would happen if I had
to explain this all to my boss.
To rule out hardware failure, I've repeated the experiment with identical
tape drive units, different USB cables, different USB ports, and both
used and new tapes. Basically, writes to that model of tape drive
connected to that server will fail about half the time.
This is a production server, but I can run any requested tests at night
if need be.
What USB chipset are you using? Nvidia based?
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