support quality (Re: dump | restore fails: unknown tape headertype 1853384566)

Jack L. Stone jacks at
Wed Mar 25 05:32:44 PDT 2009

At 07:25 PM 3.25.2009 +1030, Daniel O'Connor wrote:
>On Wednesday 25 March 2009 18:37:17 Bartosz Stec wrote:
>> > Yes, dump is broken for you, deal with it. It is quite possible your FS
>> > is corrupt, and/or your disk is damaged.
>> ..and/or it is some other hardware problem, maybe you also should test
>> your memory with memtest or something similiar? I'm using dump/restore
>> very frequently and I had never seen such problem. Neither on -RELAESE,
>> So I think you should make sure that your problem is not
>> hardware/filesystem dependent before you point dump/restore as a couse
>> of the problem. Peter Jeremy already gives you good hints to do that.
>One other thing would be to make absolutely sure that your version of dump & 
>restore are in sync, the are very machine/version dependent.

I've been watching this thread with some interest since we've had some
similar problems with dump/restore which we use every morning via cron
scripts on a number of servers to produce bootable clones as part of our
backup program. Have been doing this for years and also never saw a problem
as most of you say. We prefer dump/restore for backups.

However, last month upon upon upgrading those servers from FBSD-6.3px
(RELEASE) to 7.0px (RELEASE) we found that about one-half of the servers
had a similar problem as the original poster while the other half did not.
All of the servers (rackmounts) use the same (type) hardware. We spent many
hours trying to solve the problem with those that failed to dump/restore.
Also, searched for any others with the problem and only found a very few,
but without solutions to this issue. (Indeed, the only one was a reference
to any efforts to restore an older OS version which didn't apply here).

And, indeed we tried everything suggested here to fix the proble without
success. Sometimes the problem was dump which would reach 99% and never
finish -- it would stick there and would overlap with another cron start
the next day, and the next day, and the next day. (The servers that did
work fooled us and we found out about this issue on the others when the
overlaps appeared and drew our attention). That's when our work to try and
solve the issues started and went on for days.

Our script that has always worked contained this (after scraping and making
fresh FS):
/sbin/dump -D /root/dumpdates -0auL -f - / | /sbin/restore -rf -

Indeed, the first thing we did was to remove the pipe and tried to restore
from a file. However, because the dumps would not go past the 99%, no file
to restore from! There were some exceptions when the dump would complete,
but was not reliable. When these reached the restore level, restore would
go crazy with errors.

The "clones" are a very important pasrt of our backup program. Since the
dump side of the problems simply stuck and provided no error message at all
and the errors from any restores were not useful, our only solution was to
revert back to FBSD-6.3 on those servers with this issue and dump/restore
went back to working again. We left those that were working on FBSD-7.0-R
and they continue to work okay.

We could only conclude that the problem was perhaps something with
hardeware, perhaps the way memory was handled in 7.0, but that is only a

Once again, every suggestion on this thread was tried during our long
efforts to fix the issue. Perhaps there is yet another suggestion? In the
meantime, we've decided to wait for 7.2R (7.1 did not fix the problems


Happy trails,
Jack L. Stone

System Admin

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