[SUMMARY] Info on 1/2" reel-to-reel tape drives

From: foster@bial1.ucsd.edu
Date: Thu Nov 20 1997 - 19:29:04 CST

I can't even begin to tell you how useful this information is!
Thanks to everyone!


We have a fairly urgent need to connect a 9-track 1/2" reel-to-reel
tape drive to one of our Sun boxes (Solaris 2.5/2.6)...
1. Does anyone have any experience with this, and can you recommend
   any specific brands?
2. Are the UNIX I/O routines in the C library sufficient to interface
   with the tape-drive? Did the drive come with any software of its
   own that can be used to interface with the drive? Or did you have to
   resort to a third-party solution?
3. Is the tape-drive simply a SCSI device? If so, if we wanted to
   connect a second tape-drive to the system, should we use
   a second SCSI controller to improve performance?


1. Vendors:

        HP Model -HP88780 -HP7980S
        Qualstar (818-592-0061)
        M4-data Model -123107
        Kennedy Model 9610
        Sun makes one (actually the HP 88780)
        DEC TSZ07
        StorageTek 9914 (manuals suck!)
        Cipher M995

        Overland Data (800) 729-8725 (Contact Phil Long)
           Suggested as an excellent well-respected vendor for
           this type of thing, based in San Diego.

        Ficomp Inc. in Santa Ana : http://www.ficompinc.com
           Evan Sackstein, Tech. Support
           They have refurbished drives, which is a good thing
           since these SCSI beasts are expensive!

2. You can use the Sun "Tape I/O Library" if you want to use a C or
   Fortran program. People often use dd wrapped in shell scripts to read from
   the tape. You can use all of the standard utilities like dd, tar, mtio,
   tcopy, etc. just like with 1/4", 4mm or 8mm tape drives.

   From "man st":

      SEE ALSO
        mt(1), modload(1M), modunload(1M), read(2), write(2),
        driver.conf(4), esp(7D), isp(7D), mtio(7I), ioctl(9E)

3. These are simple SCSI devices, and the standard st interface will work.
   May need to edit /kernel/drv/st.conf, and then device name like /dev/rmt/?
   will be assigned. You can connect two drives to the same SCSI controller
   with good performance, since the tape-drives transfer data very slowly
   compared to the bandwidth of the SCSI chain.

Julie Thomas provided me with an example Fortran routine that uses the
standard I/O library to perform tape operations. Incredibly useful!

Here is the st.conf entry for the DEC drive mentioned above:

   tape-config-list =
           "DEC TSZ07", "DEC TSZ07 0.5-inch Tape Drive", "dec-tsz07";
   dec-tsz07 = 1, 0x33, 0, 0x41d, 4, 0x02, 0x02, 0x03, 0x03, 3;

A huge thanks to the following:

        Leonard Sitongia <sitongia@jabba.hao.ucar.edu>
        jot@splash.ucsd.edu (Julie Thomas)
        Larry Chamness chamness@neptune.net
        pricega@sweng.stortek.com (Greg Price)
        bill <billcssi@cssi-pa.com>
        Jim Harmon <jim@telecnnct.com>
        Rich Kulawiec rsk@itw.com
        Steven Sakata <steven@hawaii.edu>
        ray@therad.rpslmc.edu (Raymond Rodebaugh)
        Kevin.Sheehan@uniq.com.au Kevin Sheehan
        Brent Byer <bb@wjh.harvard.edu>
        Glenn Satchell - Uniq Professional Services <Glenn.Satchell@uniq.com.au>
        " Rogerio Rocha - BVL - Lisbon Stock Exchange -I.S." <rogerio@bvl.pt>
        Stefan Voss <s.voss@terradata.de>
        Jay Scott <gl@arlut.utexas.edu>
        birger@Vest.Sdata.No (Birger A. Wathne)
        cdl@proxima.ucsd.edu (Carl Lowenstein)
        teffta@erie.ge.com (Andrew R. Tefft)

This response from Larry Chamness was worth including in its entirety:

I saw your request for info concening the requirement to connect a 9
track drive to your unix (solaris box) and thought i would share a few
thoughts. Your local contact for 9 track tape drives is Overland Data
(in Kearny Mesa) at 800-729-8725...contact is Phil Bond. These are good
people who know data interchange...even if you don't purchase a 9 track
drive from these guys, they have lots of good advice. The 9 track
drives that they have are in fact SCSI, so connectivity is usually
achieved through setting the Overland drive to a HP7980S emulation.
Solaris will recognize this 9 track drive....Overland data should have
several data interchange software packages as well to assist you in
moving your data off the tape. the basic question of ..fixed or
variable length records...ASCii or ebcdic...Binary etc...need to be
addressed but these should not be a big issue. standard unix commands
can be utilized to move data as well. By the way ...9 track tape drives
are not cheap...as you will find out...option is to look also in the
secondary market. My advice would be to check out the Overland data web
site and call Phil...good honest people with solid reputation....also
The only other active company still producing 9 track drives is Qualstar
at 818-592-0061. Having said all of that ....are there any other
options concerning the 9 track tapes you have there and data
interchange?? Take the 9 track tape to the super computer center on
campus(UCSD) and have them convert them to 8mm or dat tape (depending on
which of these two drives you already have) and make sure that the
format that they write the data to tape stays the same as it appears on
the 9 track tape.....NO I repeat *NO* back up fromats when the data is
written to the alternative media....you will not be able to read the
tape. Then use the standare unix commands to read and transfere the
data. If this option is not available then you could use the data
conversion service in san diego ( look in the yellow pages)and they
charge about $250 per tape. good luck ...this is not a big deal and
there are lots of options to get you job done....

Larry Chamness
PDC - SoCal

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ David S. Foster Univ. of California, San Diego Programmer/Analyst Brain Image Analysis Laboratory foster@bial1.ucsd.edu Department of Psychiatry (619) 622-5892 8950 Via La Jolla Drive, Suite 2240 La Jolla, CA 92037 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

----- End Included Message -----

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ David S. Foster Univ. of California, San Diego Programmer/Analyst Brain Image Analysis Laboratory foster@bial1.ucsd.edu Department of Psychiatry (619) 622-5892 8950 Via La Jolla Drive, Suite 2240 La Jolla, CA 92037 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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