[TUHS] Someone wants to use an exabyte

John P. Linderman jpl.jpl at gmail.com
Tue Nov 26 07:30:35 AEST 2019

Fair enough, Ron. I recall that we had to replace Exabyte drives more often
than 9-track drives. On the other hand, I don't recall ever having an
Exabyte tape go bad, or being unable to restore a lost file (or entire
drive). Replacing a drive was chump change compared to losing a drive.
Plus, the Exabyte tapes were compact, and could easily have a paper label
inserted to indicate what was on them when hundreds were stored
side-by-side on a shelf. My labels were roundly mocked by Tom Limoncelli in
one of his Sysadmin books, but when a user came in wanting a file restored,
being able to identify which tape contained the most recent backup was no
laughing matter (to the user).

On Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 4:12 PM <ron at ronnatalie.com> wrote:

> Our problem wasn’t so much that the Exabyte tapes would go bad as the
> drives themselves would keel over on a regular basis.   It’s pretty much
> what drove us away from them.    The intelligence community did a lot of
> studies on archival storage devices.    The fundamental truth was to keep
> refreshed in the online domain rather than spending ages on static media.
> *From:* TUHS <tuhs-bounces at minnie.tuhs.org> *On Behalf Of *John P.
> Linderman
> *Sent:* Monday, November 25, 2019 4:08 PM
> *To:* Arthur Krewat <krewat at kilonet.net>
> *Cc:* The Unix Heritage Society <tuhs at minnie.tuhs.org>
> *Subject:* Re: [TUHS] Someone wants to use an exabyte
> I'm not an expert on mag tapes, but it makes sense to me that 9-track
> tapes, where the tracks "line up" when the tape is wound onto a reel,
> suffer more "print-through" than helical scan tapes, where tracks are not
> aligned with those under them on a reel. I recall a suggestion that 9-track
> tapes should be mounted and rewound once in a while, to reduce
> print-through. We used Exabytes for disk backups for years, back when tape
> capacity exceeded disk capacity. I doubt I'll see that again, but, as noted
> I'm not an expert on mag tapes.
> On Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 1:35 PM Arthur Krewat <krewat at kilonet.net> wrote:
> On 11/25/2019 12:45 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > On Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 12:40:22PM -0500, Arthur Krewat wrote:
> >> PS: DAT 4mm tape drives, especially whatever Sun was using, were awful.
> > It's no secret that I enjoyed my years at Sun, but I can't defend these
> > drives, I had the same experience.  When I look back on it, the only
> > tapes that I remember being reliable where the 9 track reel to reel
> > and the QIC-150.  Once it got to GB sized tapes, everything seemed
> > like crap.
> >
> The Exabyte 5GB and up stuff was pretty good. LTOs, after having worked
> with them for the past 13 years, I can definitely say, are quit awesome.
> DLT tapes and especially robots, well, it took HP about 5 years to get
> the firmware right for a certain robot, the model of which, I don't
> recall ...
> art k.
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