SUMMARY- exabyte drivers and CORRECTION

Date: Wed Sep 18 1991 - 17:58:36 CDT

Well, the replies have stopped coming in, so here's my summary. My original
>I recently found that the standard Sun driver in SUNOS 4.1.1, on SPARC
>workstations doesn't support high speed search for file marks on the 8500 (not
>surprising, since is was only written for 8200 drives). The result is that
>skipping forward by 50 files takes 10 minutes, rather than 25 seconds. I'm
>trying to choose a 3rd party driver.

I also neglected to mention a driver from R-squared (303-799-9292), which
worked, but had the following drawbacks, when I last tested it.

1) Only worked on desktop SPARCS, didn't support deskside servers like Sun
2) Poorly packaged. Installation instructions didn't work.
3) No utilities to set drive mode, get error statistics, etc

The only other responses I got were about Delta and APUNIX.

(As I said before, Sun Microsystems says that they may support the 8500 by
the end of the calendar year.)

In my original query, I accidently switched the descriptions of the Delta and
APUNIX drivers. Sorry about that!

        Delta Microsystems

        costs ~$450/each for quantity 10, includes graphical performance
monitoring utilities, driver delivered as binary only, customer pays software
maintenance after 1st year. Driver supports a "status only" device that is
used to get drive performance and error statistics while the drive is in use
by another task

        site license ~$5000 for >10 machines, driver source included,
perpetual technical support for no additional cost, driver costs ~$25 if
ordered with Exabyte drive. Includes a utility to backup multiple machines to
the same drive from cron job. Have just added a "status only" device , that
allows you to get drive statistics while the drive is in use by another task.


Here are the comments I received:
From: (Ray Bovet)

I tried out the APUNIX driver long ago when we were first trying to get
Exabytes to run on Ciprico SCSI adapters. I believe that APUNIX has good
technical expertise in house and has probably done a good job. I checked
into it again sometime within the last year.
From: (Emmanuel M. Paul)

        I ordered the Delta smt7 driver to use with an Exabyte 8500 on a SPARC
station 2. When I installed it I started to get sense key errors. Turns out
that DELTA does not approve of the way SUN has implemented syncronous SCSI,
and so their driver disables syncronous mode. Needless to say the other
syncronous devices on the bus no longer function properly. I have had to move
my drive to an SLC. I am still experiencing some incompatabilties between the
EXABYTE firmware and the Delta driver, so I cannot comment on performance as
yet. However the Delta driver seems much more robust than the standard SUN
driver, and so worth using.

(Note- I'm using the Delta driver on a 8500 on a SPARC2 without problems now
that I'm using the 8500 CFT03F2 firmware, but I took pains to keep the SCSI bus
very short!)

From: Jim Mattson <mattson@cs.UCSD.EDU>

A year ago, I would have cautioned you against buying the APUNIX driver,
since we were having nothing but problems with our APUNIX driver for an
exabyte on a Ciprico 3500 Series SCSI to VME controller (Sun 4/280). Our
problems finally seem to have been resolved, but it took APUNIX the better
part of a year to fix everything. Perhaps now it is stable, but it sounds
to me like you are getting a different driver from them. I'd certainly ask
for references of other sites using the same driver you plan to buy.

From: (Brian Keves - Consultant)

I do not know of another company but I can definitely recommend Apunix. I
once had a device driver class at UCSD that the owner and founder of Apunix,
Steve (?Peter?) Berens, gave and he definitely knows his stuff.

From: Brian Kelley <dgsi!euler!>

I've dealt extensively with APUNIX and am extremely pleased with their
service. I use their Exabyte drivers on our SPARCS. They really have their
act together. I haven't found anyone with better tech support when it comes
to Sun SCSI products. I haven't tried the Delta Microsystems products. I
have dealt with quite a few VARs, however. I have very little interest in
dealing with anyone else. [I'm just a happy APUNX customer]

From: kpc!!cdr@uunet.UU.NET (Carl Rigney)

We're using the Delta Microsystems driver for the 8500, and it seems OK.

I've never used the APUNIX driver.
From: Russell Ruby <russ@MATH.ORST.EDU>
Delta never included source during the time i dealt with them, so instead
we played the hassle game of waiting for replacement binaries for bug
fixes and repairs for petty (but devastating) problems which occurred
every time Sun had an OS level revision ...

At my current location we have an 8200 and get by just fine
with the vanilla Sun 4.1.1 driver, but we do use the APUNIX backup
software, no muss, no fuss, just change the tape once a day...
The nice thing i liked about having the source is that i was able
to fix a couple of bugs on the spot when i installed it over a year
ago - sent APUNIX the patches - i'm happy - they're happy - gee
everybody is happy - and it is real nice having the source code ...


Thanks again for all the feedback. I've just ordered 1 copy of the APUNIX
driver to evaluate, and I'll be making my decision on which driver to recommend
in the next month or so. I'm leaning towards the APUNIX driver, because
they'll site license us, and we get the source code.

        Joe VanAndel
        NCAR - ATD/RSF
        P.O Box 3000 Fax: 303-497-2044
        Boulder, CO 80307-3000 Voice: 303-497-2071

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