Summary: 9GB disks under SunOS 4.1.4

From: Fletcher Mattox (
Date: Wed Feb 15 1995 - 17:38:25 CST

A while back, I asked:

> We would like to load an SS20 running SunOS 4.1.4 with as much disk
> as we can. The current plan involves 4 Seagate 9GB drives on each
> of 3 SCSI buses. We want wide, differential drives. Sun tells us
> that this is unsupported under SunOS 4. Disk vendors tell us it
> works, even though it is unsupported. Does any one have any real
> experience with this?

And I learned:

Sun's wide SCSI target adaptor will not work under SunOS 4. There is
no support in the driver for that card. However, at least one vendor,
Performance Technology, sells a wide adaptor (and driver) which will
work with SunOS 4. We'll probably go that route.

However, narrow SCSI works fine. And many folks reported using Sun's
narrow adapter and 9GB disks under SunOS 4.

There is a fairly well known bug which causes format(8) to time out and
quit after two hours on 9GB disks under SunOS 4. There is also a patch
(but I don't have the patch-id handy).

> Also, Sun has told us that their engineers have tested the Seagate
> drives for Sun's use and that the drives currently do not meet
> Sun's specs. There was talk of both performance and reliability
> problems, but this may only apply to early Seagate models. I dunno.
> Again, is there any experience here?

Some respondents reported a high infant mortality rate with their
9GB Seagates. Outside of this, no one reported reliability problems
and all seemed happy with their disks.

Others confirmed that Sun has had trouble qualifying these disks for
their internal use, but several pointed out that these tests are very
demanding and do not necessarily mean the disk is unreliable.

As far as performance goes, one person noted that *any* 9GB disk is
going to be slower than two equivalent 4 GB disks (more spindles). And
that, in particular, Seagate's 4GB disk is twice as fast as their 9GB
(independent of number of spindles).

I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to reply.


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