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SCSI Tape drives on Linux

On Wed, 9 Aug 2000, Oommen Thomas wrote:

> Do any of you have experience in using SCSI tape drives on Linux?
> a) What additional hardware is needed for the tape drive to work, if the
> kernel has SCSI support and has SCSI devices already connected?

The kernel also has to have SCSI tape support, which is separate from the
issue of having SCSI at all. By the way, go ahead and build SCSI generic
support as well; you might get a CD-R drive someday.

> b) How do you go about installing/configuring the drive, assuming we have
> the 'insmod st' done?

There really isn't much to do. You give the drive an unique SCSI ID, plug
it into your host adapter, and boot. It should show up at boot time if
SCSI is built into the kernel, or when you load the SCSI modules if not.
It will be device st0, unless you have another tape drive as well.

> c) Are tar/taper the only software needed/available for backup/recovery
> with tapes on Linux ?

You can certainly do everything with those. If you want something with a
fancy GUI, you can try Arkeia; there's a limited-function version (no
automatic backups) that you can use for free.

> d) How is the reliability vis-a-vis on Windows ?

I don't have any opinion on that (specific to tape, that is).

> e) Any tips on compatibility (RHL hardware compatibility list just says
> "most scsi tape drives" supported)?

Any SCSI tape drive should work unless you have some specific reason to
believe it won't. Special functions like tape formatting (not required for
most modern tape systems; the tapes come from the factory pre-formatted)
may not be supported without special software that might or might not

Mark J. Dulcey               mark at
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