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.