Join us at Channel Live 2022

We are pleased to announce that we will be attending the Channel live event with PoINT Software and Systems. Channel live is an ICT trade specific exhibition, the only one of its kind in the UK.. 
The event is taking place between the 30th and 31st of March 2022.  

Tape Vs Magnet

We will be running a series on using Tape for Data Storage, in our Lab, we have everything from 9 track, 3420, 3480, 3490, exabyte, DAT and LTO we have customers using large enterprise libraries such as the IBM TS4500 which can hold exabytes of data. We have controllers that even emulate an escon interface so a mainframe can believe it is writing to a legacy tape drive. 


The series will cover both current tape and how these can be used with both open source and commercial software. Leave your feedback below and let us know what you would like to see as part of the series.


We write some data to a 9 track 1/2 tape using "cat" and piping to "dd". Once written we then upload the tape unwind it past the BOT marker and then use a magnet to corrupt the data on a small part of the tape. 


We then load the tape back into the drive and read the tape back in, we move the drive past the damaged part of the tape and recover the rest of the data. 


The commands used in the video are cat, dd, mt, cmp, dmesg and grep. 


The tape drive is an M4 Data 9914 9-track tape drive, its connected to a PC via single-ended SCSI. The drive can also be connected via Pertec and differential SCSI. The PC is running Ubuntu. The drive can read and write 800, 1600, 3200, 6250 BPI which makes it great for data conversions from older tapes. 


The drive we use also has clear real on the take-up motor so we can easily see the tape moving.

Tape Library On Linux

We demonstrate with an older IBM enterprise tape library the IBM 3490E and Quantum LTO tape library i3 scaler. 
The IBM 3490E tape library is a 10 slot autoloader that is a rebadged overland L490E and can support both 3480 18 track tape and 36 track 3490 and 3490E tape with compression. The tape drive is connected with single-ended SCSI. The drive can support both differential and single-ended SCSI with a simple internal adjustment. 



The second tape library media changer is the newer LTO Quantum i3 Scalar tape library which uses a SAS interface. The library is equipped with two LTO tape drives and 100 slots, though only 50 are activated. In the demonstration, we show how to identify the device names in Linux using Dmesg |grep scsi And then use mtx command to load and unload tape and query the inventory of the tape libraries. Once the tapes are loaded we use tar to read and write data and mt to check the status of the drives. 


 The mtx commands are --- note: replace sg2 with the device name identified from dmesg 


mtx -f /dev/sg2 status --- reports back slot status.
mtx -f /dev/sg2 unload 10 -- unloads drive 0 to slot 10 


The tar commands are tar -cvf /dev/st0 *.txt -- create a tar archive on tape device 0 of all txt files 
tar -tvf /dev/sto – list files on the tape 
tar -xvf /dev/st0 – restore files back from tape to the current directory

Sony ODA Cartridge Durability Test

We run through seven different durability tests on the Sony optical disc archive (ODA) cartridge. Gen 3 media can store 5.5TB on a single cartridge. The Cartridges can be accessed in a single USB drive or larger robotic library called the Petasite. The Sony ODA media is rated for archiving data for 100 years.