SUMMARY: Tape Backup

From: Burak Baysal (
Date: Mon Jan 25 1999 - 09:48:48 CST

Dear Sun Managers,

thanks to all that have responded. Most of the responses came the
same day of the post.

Here is my original questions and my summary:

> device driver: I've been using /dev/rmt/0cbn to talk to the
> tape drive, because that was configured in solstice backup. I know
> what c and n flags do, but I couldn't find info on the "b" flag. The
> man pages say something about BSD styling, but what exactly does it
> do, and should I be using it?

The "b" flag is there for BSD compatibility, for positioning and
error handling. It makes sure that the head is positioned at the
beginning of the next record instead of at the end of the last
record. Most people suggested I use it so that I don't have any
problems with compatibility later.

> tapes: we've been using maxell and sony tapes, and just ordered a
> bunch of Imation tapes. for 4mm tapes, which brand would you recommend
> to use? do you think that the tapes we have been using is causing
> the problems?

A market researcher would cry at the responses I got for this. Seems
like tapes don't matter, although I got couple "you get what you paid
for", one "beware Maxell" and one "don't use Sony, it is in the manual".
I think I need to quote Benjamin Kearns <>
> Sony 4mm tapes are infamous for doing bad things to Drives. The last
> Python drive I recieved specifically satated that if you use Sony tapes
> that you void the warrenty. I think that the media is to Stiff or
> something like that. I would ditch the Sonys and stay with the Maxell or
> Verbatim, I have used these for a long time and have had very little
> problems.

> software: how do you suggest I should be backing up. I like to use
> ufsdump, because it is easy to use, and rather low level interface
> to the tape, with the mt commands. I wasn't comfortable with solstice,
> would like to see what the tape is doing and such. and the online index
> deal is kind of scary. there was a freeware popular backup tool, I don't
> remember the name though.

Most people on the list seems to think the same about trusting high
level interfaces. I think I will keep using ufsdump/ufsrestore.
The freeware tool is Amanda, and I didn't get a lot of responses
boasting it.

> drive: we were planning to replace this tape drive with a higher
> capacity drive. what would you recommend? price is always a concern.
> right now, we have 15 Gb to backup (2-3 tapes), would probably double
> it in the next year or so

Most people suggest DLT drives if we want to spend the money for it.
people suggested staying with DDS2 or DDS3 drives but using multiple to
add reliability. Speed is also becoming an issue with us, so we'll
probably end up getting a DLT. I am surprised I didn't get anything

thanks to all who took the time to respond to my post,
Alan Reichert <>
Dave McFerren <>
Jochen Bern <>
Rich Kulawiec <>
"J.R. Lee" <jrl@@>
Benjamin Kearns <> (David Mitchell)
"Brandon K. Devlin" <>
Danny Johnson <>
Richard Smith <>
"Rose, Robert" <>
"Eric B. Sobalvarro" <>
Chris Marble <>

Burak H. BAYSAL				|	|
Laboratory Manager, Electrical Eng.	||
Southern Ill. Univ. at Edwardsville,	|Voice: (618) 650-2523	|
Campus Box 1801,	IL, 62026	|Fax: (618) 650-3374	|

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