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It would be nice if Bacula would warn you for faulty tapes, drive errors or when the tapedrive needs cleaning.
Bacula features the Alert command. Unfortunately there are some drawbacks:

  • Documentation is limited to the Bacula manual; there are no samples of it's usage
  • it does not work, well, at least in my setup it does not. Having a single slot tapedrive with automounting Bacula claims the drive so other programs are blocked due to a lock.
mt -f /dev/st0 status

is not always enough for some of us :-)
And has the same issue: device is locked.
TapeAlert is a feature which is supported by some tapedrives. Although described in the manual and found in many commented lines on the internet when Bacula related, there are some pitfalls:

  • your drive has to support this mechanism
  • a tape has to be physically present to be able to get the drive's status
  • the drive must not be locked(!). So beware of Bacula Storage Daemon!
  • after the status is read, the drive resets it's status(!!!), so rereading the status gives a different result!

Further information can be gathered from:

So, this feature is quite useful. However implementing it using the Alert command was not trivial. See also this posting on the mailinglist.

In my situation there is a single-slot tapedrive so tapes are manually switched/replaced. After the last backup and verify jobs have finished I run some admin-type jobs. One of them being:

Add smartcrl to your /etc/sudoers configuration as reading the tapedrive can be a bit tricky I used sudo for this purpose. :


#echo "release DDS-4" | /usr/bin/bconsole -c /etc/bacula/bconsole.conf
echo "unmount DDS-4" | /usr/bin/bconsole -c /etc/bacula/bconsole.conf

sleep 1m
sudo /usr/sbin/smartctl -a /dev/st0 -T verypermissive > /var/lib/bacula/tapeinfo.log

mt -f /dev/st0 rewind
mt -f /dev/st0 eject
sleep 2m

# mount an empty tapedrive
#   this will produce an error, but
#   will Bacula let take over control over the tapedrive again
echo "mount DDS-4" | /usr/bin/bconsole -c /etc/bacula/bconsole.conf


exit 0

Which takes care of:

  • unmounting the drive
  • as it is now unmounted I can finally get it's status! The status is stored in a logfile.
  • rewind & eject the tape
  • let the SD reclaim the drive (mount the drive regardless if a tape is inserted yet or not)

Within the script a logfile of the Tapedrive's status is created and an other script is called to process it. :

# OZ/04-09-2009


SUBJECT="Bacula tapedrive TapeInfo alert"

# script issued a: smartctl -a /dev/st0 > /var/lib/bacula/tapeinfo.log

# --- get email-address of Bacula's Tape-Operator & System Administrator ---

## get the first email-address of the Bacula Tape Operator(s)
bo=`cat $BACDIRCONF |sed -e 's/^[ \t]*//' | grep -w ^operator |cut -d"=" -f2 | head -1`
## get the first mail-address of the Bacula System Administrator(s)
bs=`cat $BACDIRCONF |sed -e 's/^[ \t]*//' | grep -w ^mail |cut -d"=" -f2 | head -1`

#echo "Email-address of Bacula's Tape-operator : $bo"
#echo "Email-address of Bacula's System Admin  : $bs"

# sanity check for email-addresses:
if [ ! -n "$bo" ]; then
  echo "Could not retrieve an email-address for the Bacula Tape-Operator."
  exit 1;
if [ ! -n "$bs" ]; then
  echo "Could not retrieve an email-address for the Bacula System Administrator."
  exit 1;

# sanity check for existence of the logfile
if [ ! -f $TAPEINFO_LOG ]; then
  echo "Could not find the logfile containing TapeInfo results."
  exit 1;

# now actually do what is intended to be done!
TA_OK=`cat $TAPEINFO_LOG | grep "TapeAlert: OK" -c`
if [ $TA_OK != "1" ]; then
  # hmm. TapeInfo is not OK. Send an email!
  $MAIL_BIN -s "$SUBJECT" -c "$bo" "$bs" < $TAPEINFO_LOG
tapealert.txt · Last modified: 2009/09/14 15:50 by olaf