Installing a Dell Powervault LTO6 Tape Drive – Server 2008

I needed to configure a Dell Powervault LTO6 Tape Drive (model CSEH 001) on a server running Windows 2008 R2 x64. This seems like it should be straight forward but that is not the case.

The proper SAS card is installed in the server the tape drive is plugged in. Windows device manager sees the interface card but sees the tape drive under Other Devices. As such nothing can access it. Try as I might I could not locate a proper driver on Dell’s website.

Research shows this drive is manufactured by IBM. I did find links to drivers on IBM’s website but the revisions and firmware options and sheer number of drivers left me dizzy. I finally reached an engineer at Dell who sent me the driver and told me I would not have found them on Dell’s website. All I could think was “no-kidding! I looked”

After unzipping this file to a new folder. I ran the non-exclusive installer. I chose this instead of the exclusive as I may want more than one item to interact with the drive. It is friendlier this way. The installation generated an error message. This was because the driver could not locate the tape drive because it was marked under other devices in the device manager. The installation requires the tape drive to be a known device which requires a driver which I was attempting to install. Chase my tail, geesh!!

Workaround – Manually install the driver by choosing to point to the folder with the extracted files from the device manager update driver wizard.  This allows Windows to identify the device and move  it out of Other Devices to Tape Drives.  After a reboot it now showed properly but with the dreaded exclamation point next to it.

Workaround 2 – Now go to the extracted files folder and run or re-run the non-exclusive installer. Now that the device is not showing as an “Other Device”, the installer can see it and properly install the actual driver.  Afterward I was able to access the drive with my backup software.

Note – NT Backup is no longer included with Windows Server. While you can copy the files over and run it, you can not make backups to tape and may not even be able to restore old backups from tape.  Server 2008 no longer includes a necessary service needed by NTBackup to access tape drives.  Information indicates you may be able to restore from a file located on disk rather than tape.

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