SUMMARY: 1/2" xylogics tape controller in a 670?

From: Gerald Justice (
Date: Sat Jul 25 1992 - 01:45:20 CDT

I recently wrote:

>We are upgrading our 4/280 to a 670MP and want to keep our 1/2" tape drives.
>The Xylogics 472 controllers are not supported by SunOS4.1.2 for the MP.
>Has anyone obtained a consulting special from Sun or a third party driver
>for these controllers? What other alternatives are there?

>From which I got the following responders:

  kalli!kevin@fourx.Aus.Sun.COM (Kevin Sheehan {Consulting Poster Child})
  Peter Kaldis <peter@Civil.Concordia.CA>
  John Valdes <>
  era@niwot.scd.ucar.EDU (Ed Arnold) (Daniel Strick)

In summary, one can purchase a consulting special called CONSULT-GDS
which provides support for the xd and xt drivers. This software should be
at least at version 1.4 for use with the xt driver (for the Xylogics 472)
or else you won't be able to use your CD-ROM. I have ordered this and was
delaying submitting this summary until I had actually tried it. I do not
yet have the software in hand but saw another request for this information
just today prompting me to send out this summary. If anything goes wrong
I will post an addenda to the summary within a couple of days.

It also sounds like the brave among you can try the 4.1.1 xt driver in
4.1.2 but as it turns out we want both the xd and xt support so we see
the consulting special as worthwhile (even if a ripoff since none of the
sales people told us that the 1/2" tape was not supported when we were
discussing the upgrade--had we known that we would have given more thought
to a Sparcserver 10 and not worried about VME compatibility.) For those
wanting to get away from VME it appears that SCSI drivers are available.

Of course, because I couldn't go ahead with my upgrade installation I had
time to read my backlog of sun-managers mail and of course I found a very
relevant message, extracted heretofore:

>From: (Staff- Thomas J Davis)
>Subject: SUMMARY: Support of VME peripherals on 690
>Date: Thu, 11 Jun 92 16:58:43 EDT
>The most universal conclusion about the 6X0MP's is that they
>require a massive number of Sun provided patches to keep them
>from crashing.
>Sun does not support SMD drives on the current 6X0MP's. But the
>device drivers are the in the 4.1.2 release. In addition, Sun
>Consulting is selling a support package for SMD, CONSULT-GDS.
>Both the NC400 cards and VME Prestoserve are supported. Although,
>the VME Prestoserve appearantly only supports controllers on the
>VME bus.

Thanks to everyone,

Gerald Justice, Unix Systems Manager
Phone: (604) 363-0055 PDT Fax: (604) 363-0045 Telex: 049-7295
Internet: Mail: Dominion Astrophysical Observatory
                                            National Research Council (Canada)
BITNET: justice@nrcdao 5071 W. Saanich Road
                                            Victoria, B.C. CANADA V8X 4M6

Here are the slightly shortened direct responses that I got:


From: kalli!kevin@fourx.Aus.Sun.COM (Kevin Sheehan {Consulting Poster Child})
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1992 07:39:46 EST

You might want to check with Xylogics, but to my knowledge there isn't
a consulting special for this. You can check with
or if memory serves.

                l & h,


Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1992 10:53:32 -0400
From: Peter Kaldis <peter@Civil.Concordia.CA>


I believe the latest version of the Consulting Special from sun has
proper working drivers (the previous version had a memory conflict error
with the CD-ROM drive). However this will cost you money. Do what I did:
simply copy over the drivers from a 4.1.1 Sun4 machine to your 670, and
add the proper config lines to your kernel. It works except for the CD-ROM
(same problem as the old version of the Consulting Special). I keep two
versions of the kernel around for when I need to use the CD-ROM or the
tape drive.

Peter Kaldis Civil Engineering 1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W
Unix Lizard Concordia University Montreal, QC
peter@Civil.Concordia.CA CANADA H3G 1M8


Date: Mon, 20 Jul 92 11:17:28 CDT
From: John Valdes <>

An alternative you may want to consider is purchasing a Pertec-to-SCSI
adapter for your tape drive. You could then connect the drive to any
machine with a SCSI interface. Although I don't have one myself (yet),
I've been told that the adapters work just fine with Sun's standard
st driver. I believe Cipher and NCR make them (perhaps others do also).
Try giving them a call:

NCR: (316) 636-8000
Cipher: (800) 4CIPHER

They can undoubtedly give you more details. Hope this helps.

John Valdes


Date: Mon, 20 Jul 92 13:08:12 EDT

We've acquired the Sun-Consult GDS 1.4 tape for xd and xt support on the
670. The xd portion of it works just fine. We haven't had the opportunity
to test the xt portion. Ask me the same question next week, and I'll have
an answer; we move from our 3/180 and 3/280 servers to the new 670mps on
Thursday of this week.

One piece of advice, make sure you get version 1.4. It would appear that
earlier releases of this patch broke the xt driver.

magi David Wiseman, Network Manager e-mail: magi@csd.uwo.CA
        Department of Computer Science
        The University of Western Ontario fax: +1 519 661 3515
        London Ontario Canada N6A 5B7 voice: +1 519 679 2111 x6879


From: era@niwot.scd.ucar.EDU (Ed Arnold)
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 92 13:10:16 MDT

Sun offers something called the CONSULT-GDS special for this situation.
It's not cheap (about $1K, depending on your discount schedule). BTW if
you go this way, make sure you get v1.4 of CONSULT-GDS, not v1.3 (which
can cause system crashes).

Ed Arnold * NCAR * POB 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000 * 303-497-1253(voice)
303-497-{1298,1137}(fax) * [] * era@ncario.BITNET


Date: Mon, 20 Jul 92 10:37:24 PDT From:

Hi Gerald!

I've just gone through this exercise. Have I got a surprise for you! Sun isn't going to take away your whole 4/280 from you in the system upgrade. All they take back is the backplane, the CPU card, and the primary memory card. S'matter of fact, they expect YOU to take those parts out of your 4/280 and ship them back to Sun. You'll be able to use some of the boxes that your 670MP comes in.

Now all you have to do is to find a used backplane, CPU, and memory card, put them into your 4/280... and you've got it back! Those parts can be had from APEX for about $4000. I just picked up a 4/260 from a private party. All it had was the 4/260 pedestal, power supply, backplane, CPU, and 8 meg memory card. These parts are all exact replacement parts for a 4/280 as well! This cost me only $1800. :-)

I haven't installed them yet, but expect to do so this week.

I know that you can get the device driver for the 1/2" tape drive from Sun consulting for about $1000.

Good luck!

Best wishes,

Russ Button Ascent Logic Corporation Systems Administration


Date: Mon, 20 Jul 92 20:01:10 -0400 From: (Daniel Strick)

About a month ago I sent this bug report to SunOS tech support. Tech support assigned it a service order number and a bugid. There has been no further response.

Since I have not received permission from company lawyers, I cannot provide you with a fixed driver binary. (sorry)

Dan Strick, aka or bellcore!dan, (201)829-4624

----------------------------------------------------------------------- text of the bug report:

The xt driver allocates an 18 byte chunk of the iopbmap. Since this size is not a multiple of 4 bytes, it causes subsequent allocations from the iopbmap to be incoveniently aligned and this causes other device drivers, such as the sbus scsi "sr" driver, to crash.

One fix is to change the line in xt.c that looks like:

c->c_iopb = (struct xtiopb *)rmalloc(iopbmap, to: c->c_iopb = (struct xtiopb *)IOPBALLOC(

I request that the modified driver be compiled for both the sun4 and sun4m architectures and that the resulting object files be made available as a patch.

Of course, the sun4m version would have to be an "unsupported" driver. Even in this form it would be of considerable value to many sun customers.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:06:45 CDT