SUMMARY: Soft error rate during backup

From: Craig Barker (tybse2!
Date: Mon May 06 1996 - 07:59:01 CDT

Well, we have a concensus on the summary, but first the original

I have a SPARCstation 10 model 30 running Solaris 2.3.
I perform backups every night to an 8mm tape drive using
the ufsdump utility. I recently purchased SONY computer grade 8mm
112M data cartridges. About 1/2 of the tapes have errors of the
following nature after about 2 or 3 backup uses:

May 2 03:03:54 tybse2 unix: WARNING: /iommu@f,e0000000/sbus@f,e0001000/esp@1,200000/st@4,0 (st19):
May 2 03:03:54 tybse2 unix: Soft error rate (7%) during writing was too high
May 2 03:03:54 tybse2 unix: Please, replace tape cartridge

I have ensured that my tape drive is clean, etc. My question is this;
Is there some performance tuning that I can do to the OS or ufsdump utility
to make these tapes usable, or are the quality of SONY tapes really this
pathetic? I used to get at least 15 dumps on Verbatim tapes before SOME of
them began giving these errors. Guess I won't be buying any garbage from

The majority of responses indicate the following:

(1) SONY TAPES ARE JUNK!!! Many people had good things to say about Exabyte

(2) Slowlaris has yet another bug. The tape driver incorrectly counts the
     soft error percentage. There is a patch for Solaris 2.4, but not for
     2.3. Sun's "response" was to add the following entry in the /etc/system
     file to suppress the soft error rate messages on the tape drive.
     * suppress soft error rate messages on tape drive
     set st:st_report_soft_errors_on_close=0

Hope this helps, and thanks to everyone who responded, - too many to list!

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