Volume Initialization


You need to initialize the tape volumes for Oracle database backup with SAP tools. BRBACKUP or BRARCHIVE writes an SAP-specific label – that is, a file with the name .tape.hdr0 – to the volume concerned. This label file is read when the volume is checked. If the label file does not exist, the check fails and the volume is rejected.

The following graphic summarizes volume initialization:


Several devices can be used for initializing volumes. The backup devices defined in the init<DBSID>.sap profile in parameters tape_address and tape_address_rew (or in tape_address_arch and tape_address_rew_arch) are used serially during a volume initialization.  For more information, see the parameters tape_address and tape_address_rew. The volumes of all the available backup devices can be changed at the same time.

The information in the label is overwritten and the entire tape contents lost if you write to a BRBACKUP or BRARCHIVE volume directly using other tools.


You only have to initialize the following:

?        New tapes

?        Tapes that have never been used before by BRBACKUP or BRARCHIVE.

Only initialize the volumes once, not repeatedly before every backup. However, to change the name of a volume, you have to reinitialize it. You cannot change volume names during a backup.


       1.      You initialize all tape volumes to be used by BRBACKUP or BRARCHIVE for the first time. If you want to use automatic tape management, the volume names must be listed in the init<DBSID>.sap parameters volume_backup or volume_archive.

We recommend you to write paper labels on the volumes so that you can identify them more easily.

       2.      You enter the following options during an initialization:

0       -i|-initialize

Renames volumes that have already been initialized. Only possible for volumes with an expired expiration period. For more information on expiration period, see Volume Expiration Period.

0       -i|-initialize force

Initializes new volumes or volumes not yet used by BRBACKUP or BRARCHIVE. The expiration period check is not active. Important: This option can also be used to reinitialize locked volumes, which you should never do. If you initialize BRBACKUP or BRARCHIVE tapes with the addition force, the tape_use_count stored in the tape label is set to 1. Otherwise this value is increased accordingly.

0       -v|-volume

Enters the names of volumes for initialization.

0       -n|-number

Specified number of volumes for initialization.

The following examples show how you can use the above options:

Initialization of volumes with the volume names specified in volume_backup/volume_archive:

Use the BRBACKUP or BRARCHIVE option -i [force]. Mount a volume and enter the following command:

brbackup|brarchive -i [force]

The volumes are initialized in sequence with the names specified in the parameters volume_backup/volume_archive.

New and non-BRBACKUP or BRARCHIVE volumes must always be initialized with the additional specification force.

If you initialize a volume without this additional specification, the expiration period of the volume is checked. Locked volumes or volumes without labels are rejected. Volumes that are not locked are renamed.

Initialization of 5 volumes with the first 5 volume names specified in volume_backup/volume_archive:

brbackup|brarchive -i [force] -n 5

Initialization of volumes with a specific name:

brbackup|brarchive -i [force] -v <name1>[,<name2>]...

All the volumes for initialization must be mounted in the backup device in the correct order.