4 4 3 Beefalo:Loaders

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Loaders are devices that consist of drive(s), a magazine with slots for media and a robotic mechanism that moves media between the slots and drives thus enabling automated backups. There is no dependency in SEP sesam to use specific manufacturer's devices or device types. A list of supported hardware is available at Supported Storage Hardware.

Identifying storage devices and their configuration

SEP sesam can detect and automatically configure storage hardware in your environment if the hardware is supported and recognized by the operating system (it must be listed in the OS device driver directory), where the SEP sesam Server or Remote Device Server is installed.

Verify that the operating system properly detects the storage device. On Windows, the hardware must be recognized correctly by the operating system in the Windows Device Manager (must not be shown as Unknown Medium Changer) before SEP sesam is installed! For details, see Checking hardware configuration on Windows.

During SEP sesam Server installation, SEP sesam checks the SCSI API of the operating system for connected storage devices and enters working device files (SCSI address) into SEP sesam database. This auto-detection works for most devices, but for certain types of loaders the connection between a loader and the drives cannot be recognized automatically. Such devices must be manually verified and entered into the configuration. Note that procedure differs depending on your operating system (Linux or Windows).

If you are adding a loader later, e.g., for remote devices, you also have to configure your storage hardware manually. How you configure a loader depends on its type. For details on how to manually configure tape devices, enable persistent naming and use SEP sesam SCSI tool slu topology for detecting devices, see Manually configuring loaders and drives.

The menu item Loaders shows the configured loaders with their drives. You can add a new loader, inspect the contents of the loader, run archive adjustment, and import/export or load/unload the tape cartridges.

Loader properties

The following settings are configured automatically if a storage device is recognized by the operating system.

  • Device name: SCSI device filename of the loader; enter the SCSI address of the physical device on Windows systems, for example Changer0, or a device filename on Linux systems, for example /dev/sg2. You can check if the devices are used correctly by SEP sesam and detect available SCSI addresses by running a slu topology command.
  • slu topology is a SEP sesam SCSI loader utility that provides information about the loaders and tape drives connected to the system and their relation. To be able to run the SEP sesam commands globally, you must first set up a profile as described in FAQ: What happens when I set a profile? Then run slu topology command to list all attached SCSI devices. For details on the output, see Using slu topology for detecting devices. <SESAM_BIN>/sesam/slu topology Enter the displayed target device name in the Device name field.
  • Device server: Remote Device Server (RDS) where the loader is installed.
    Device Server refers to the server where the loader is connected. In small environments, the loader or disk array is usually installed directly on the SEP sesam Server. However, more complex backup environments use RDS instead. RDS receives data during backup and writes it to the attached tape device.
  • Type: The device type.
  • Ctrl: The loader type – there are four types of loaders available:
    • DIR_SLU: All loaders, which are connected by SAS/iSCSI/FC to the SEP sesam Server or RDS, and provide a robotic control of tape media.
    • DIR_VIRT: A virtual loader. Only one virtual loader can exist in the entire SEP sesam configuration. This loader type is always configured with the number 0 (zero), and it serves all DISK_HARD drives and DISK_CHNG drives. Even though media are not actually moved, there are entries in specific files to control the data streams.
    • DIR_DISK: Enables you to control a pool of several hard disks. The hard disks have to be addressable by single device ID in the operating system.
    • DIR_ACSLS (≥ 4.4.3 Beefalo V2): ACSLS loader used for the tape libraries controlled by StorageTek Automated Cartridge System Library Software (ACSLS) as SEP sesam backup devices.
  • Slots: Number of slots in the loader.
  • When inserting a cleaning tape, use the last slot in the loader and reduce the number of slots in the loader by one (or by the number of cleaning tapes loaded). Additionally, disable the auto-clean option in the tape library setup or set it to manual execution.
  • Ports: Number of mail slots in the loader.
  • Barcode: Depending on whether the loader has a barcode reader or not, select yes or no.
  • Auto unload function: Almost all autoloaders and tape libraries allow explicit commands to transport tapes to and from the loader mechanism. It is strongly recommended to disable Auto unload function by setting it to No and allow the manufacturer's drive settings to perform as designed.


The Content view shows a symbolic representation of the loader. It is constantly refreshed and always shows the current status.

The left part represents the tapes in slots. At the top right corner is the drive, in the middle is the arm or selecting device (changer), below is the exit port.

Frequently there will be other applications also using media in the loader, especially in the case of large tape libraries. In such case, you have to know which subset of media is reserved for SEP sesam (media that are added to the SEP sesam media pool). When running an archive adjustment (scanning a loader to update the SEP sesam information about the tapes in the device), you can limit the scanning to specific SEP sesam loader areas. If the media have barcode labels, this is taken into account for the backup process.

If available, the barcode labels are scanned and synchronized. Otherwise, the media labels are used. You can also verify only specific media labels.

The archive adjustment can be performed for inventory purposes to provide an overview of the media available in the loader, irrespective of which media pool was selected for the adjustment.

You can also perform Loader Action to achieve direct access to disk and loader controls. See the below section Loader action.

  • Legend: The following table lists the icons used for displaying various media and loader status.

  • Barcode as Label: If available, a barcode will be used instead of the media label.

Archive Adjustment

An archive adjustment makes a comparison between media in the loader carousel or magazine and the SEP sesam media archive database. It is mandatory whenever the contents of a loader carousel have been altered. Typically, it must be performed after inserting new media or used media that have not yet been registered (initialized) by SEP sesam. It must be run after successful installation of a loader, as described in the following section First archive adjustment after new loader installation. For more details on archive adjustment and how to create a media event for it to run automatically, see Setting up Archive Adjustment.

When selecting the option Archive Adjustment, make sure that the autoloader being realigned is selected in the GUI window, i.e., that the target device is at the top of the adjustment task. When using the command line, the task must include the name of the target autoloader or tape device.

  • Media pool: Select a media pool where you want to perform the archive adjustment.
  • Storagepool: If the selected media pool has storage pools assigned to it, you can select it from the drop-down list.
  • Drive group: The drive group is automatically defined by the media pool.
  • Drive (opt.): Optionally, you can select a single drive.
  • Slot range: You can limit synchronization to the specified loader segment by entering the number of the first and last slot.
  • Automatic introduction: If unknown media (without SEP sesam label) are found within the loader, they will be added from the tape library to the specified media pool.
    1. Tape type: Select the relevant tape type from the drop-down list.
    2. Select the preferred way for Handling of unknown SEP sesam media:
      • Accept without initialization: Foreign SEP sesam media, e.g., from another SEP sesam Server, will be automatically inserted into the new media pool without initialization.
      • Overwrite: A tape with unknown SEP sesam label (which is not in the SEP sesam DB) is initialized and added to the selected media pool.
      • Note
        Any media from a competitive manufacturer will be entered into the target media pool and will be overwritten! In other words, any media not recognized by the SEP sesam Server will be overwritten and a new media pool label will be written to the tape.
  • Check label on tape: Every tape label is re-read and verified, while the barcode information is ignored.
  • Adjustment by barcode only: SEP sesam scans only the tapes which are in slots, while the tapes in the drives are not scanned.
First archive adjustment after new loader installation

After the complete installation of the loader, the tapes must first be included in the media pool (to be able to use them) by running the archive adjustment. For details, see Media - Data Carriers.

  1. First, configure a media pool that will be used for backing up directly to tapes which are assigned to this media pool. For details, see Configuring media pools for loaders.
  2. Insert new tapes into the slots of the loader; in our example, we use the slots 3-6.
  3. Start the archive adjustment with the following settings:
    • Select the media pool to which you want to assign the tapes.
    • Specify the slot range for the newly introduced tapes, e.g., 3-6.
    • Select the check box Automatic introduction that the tapes will be added from the tape library to the specified media pool.
    • By default, Accept without initialization is enabled under the option Handling of unknown SEP sesam media. Select the check box Overwrite only if the respective tape has already been registered by SEP sesam.
    • Click Start to start your archive adjustment immediately.

Running archive adjustment results in automatically adding the tapes to the specified media pool, which can now be used for backups.

Loader Action

Selecting Loader Action is the simplest (limited) way to achieve direct access to disk and loader controls. The import or export (load/unload) of a single tape can be initialized in the SEP GUI as well as the sorting of the media within the library. The use of port slots depends on the installed hardware.


  • Import from port: Transport of the tape cartridge through the input/output port into the magazine.
  • Export to port: Transport of the tape cartridge from the magazine through the input/output port – exit from loader.
  • Load from slot: Move the tape cartridge from the specified magazine slot into the specified drive.
  • Load via label: Move the tape cartridge with certain ID (e.g., S00001) into the specified drive.
  • Unload: Move the tape cartridge from the specified drive back into its slot.
  • Loader number: Selection of the loader.
  • Drive Number: Selection of the drive (within the loader).
  • Label: When loading via label, selection of the label instead of the slot number.
  • Start: Start the corresponding action.
  • Cancel: Cancels the dialog without performing any action.

Drive Action

By clicking the drive within the loader and selecting the Drive Action, you can manage the specific drive and media in the drive.


  • Identify label: Shows the label of the medium in the drive.
  • Mount media: Mount is a special reservation of the tape media to prevent unnecessary spooling.
  • Dismount media: Cancels the mount status.
  • Dismount and unload media: Cancels the mount status and unloads the tape.
  • Warning
    If you have manually removed or inserted the tape from/into the drive, the drive must be dismounted. Dismount and unload media should not be confused with unloading from an auto-loader. While the loader can re-acquire the tape and re-enter it (option Unload via Loader), this option only means that the tape in the drive will be released and ejected.
  • Release drive: Cancels all activities that are running on the drive.
  • Release drive group: Cancels all jobs that are running on the drives that belong to the respective drive group.

The execution and progress of the activity are shown in the cyclically updated Current Messages window.

See also

Configuring a LoaderStorage Hardware - Drives and LoadersSetting up Archive Adjustment

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Any form of reproduction of the contents or parts of this manual is allowed only with the express written permission from SEP AG. When compiling and designing user documentation SEP AG uses great diligence and attempts to deliver accurate and correct information. However, SEP AG cannot issue a guarantee for the contents of this manual.