[TUHS] Someone wants to use an exabyte

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Tue Nov 26 04:29:34 AEST 2019

On Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 10:07 AM Al Kossow <aek at bitsavers.org> 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.

IIRC, the main issue from back in the day was different densities on the
same form-factor tapes. So if you want to the same model 8mm drive, it
works, if you go to a different (older?) model, it wouldn't. Eg, going from
the 8500 -> 8200 caused problems due to data density issues. IIRC, you
could write low density data tapes on the 8500 for interchange with the
8200, but it wasn't the default on some platforms?

But it's been a long time and my memory is hazy... so long that Exabyte
went bankrupt, several new tenants tried to rent the old space, the
developer that bought it at the exabyte firesale wen bankrupt too and the
new developers that bought it have torn down the old Exabyte offices in
Boulder and replaced it with a set of luxury apartments... I could be

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