[TUHS] Someone wants to use an exabyte

Arthur Krewat krewat at kilonet.net
Tue Nov 26 03:40:22 AEST 2019

A few years back, I decided to go through my stack of 8mm 
Exabyte-written tapes... An early Exabyte 8200 2GB Exabyte drive was 
useless. A 2/5G drive worked.

There were errors on one or two tapes. But each and every one was an 
analog 8mm video tape, not a real data tape. And I was able to splice 
the backup set enough so that whatever it was written with would be 
happy enough to restore the data once pieced back together. A mix of 
tar, and ufsbackup for the most part.

During this process, I bought an Exabyte Mammoth off eBay - didn't use 
it much, but it read those old tapes just fine.

I was able to recover scads of personal stuff that I already had copies 
of, along with a few dumps of the USENET systems I was using to serve as 
a 3-modem BBS for USENET. And yes, sometimes, I go back into old backup 
tapes to recover data I already have on disk. I hate bit-rot, I do 
whatever I can to mitigate it.

art k.

PS: DAT 4mm tape drives, especially whatever Sun was using, were awful. 
Around 50% of them I dealt with all got into a mode within the first 
year where they would accept a tape, and just kick it back out right 
away. Because they were under support, they were just replaced, so I 
never looked into it hardware-wise.

On 11/25/2019 12:07 PM, Al Kossow wrote:
> On 11/24/19 7:24 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
>> So that sounds like a different problem.  People correct me if I'm
>> wrong but the exabyte drives seemed to have a head alignment problem.
> They are 8mm helical-head drives. they wouldn't go out of alignment by
> bumping them, the worse would be the tape would lose tension if you
> smacked the tensioning arms hard enough
> They do have a lot of rubber parts inside.
> Rollers crack and belts go soft. I have several dozen dead EX8200s from that.
> I have a whole box of 8mm backup tapes that just came in, and a small
> number of working drives. The Linux software I wrote to do 9 track tape recovery
> from a SCSI 9 track drive works just fine on an Exabyte.
> And I'm not offering to read Jason's mystery reels.

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