Tape imaging

Jon Elson elson at pico-systems.com
Wed Aug 10 21:53:16 CDT 2016

On 08/10/2016 09:45 AM, jim stephens wrote:
> On 8/10/2016 7:04 AM, Tor Arntsen wrote:
>> On 10 August 2016 at 15:22, <aswood at t-online.de> wrote:
>>> I successfully took a (factory new) DEC TSZ07 SCSI tape 
>>> drive into operation using a Sun SS20 and a Linux box.
>>> Now I do have a big pile of CDC, DEC, HP, Convex and IBM 
>>> tapes and I'd like to create tape images to file to save 
>>> the tapes content.
>>> What is the to be preferred procedure to image the 
>>> tapes, which software to use and which kind of format to 
>>> store the images?
>> fwiw, I made my own format when I archived all my old 
>> tapes. A very simple one:
>> - I read the tape record by record
>> - The output disk file contains a 4-byte integer in big 
>> endian format,
>> followed by one record.
>> - The 4-byte integer contains the physical record size as 
>> read from the tape.
>> - Then another 4-byte value plus a new record, and so on.
>> - End-of-file markers are encoded by using 0 as the value 
>> for the
>> 4-byte integer, with no record following (logically enough).
> I'd find a way to get it to some format acceptable to simh 
> as a lot of the tapes you have will probably work on 
> emulators.  There are already utilities for going to and 
> from that, and perhaps even some that will compile and run 
> on your hardware to go from SCSI devices or serial block 
> devices to that format.
I did something similar.  I already had some tape container 
unpackers for other systems.  I had some old VMS BACKUP 
tapes that I wanted to unpack.  First, I extracted the save 
set from the container file, just turning it into a byte 
stream.  Then, I fed it to the vmsbackup program, available 
from Stephen Hoffman.
The command is :
vmsbackup -xe -b 8192 -f <filename>
and it will build the directory tree where you currently 
are.  (If blocksize is not 8192, substitute in above command.)

It was REALLY COOL to have my entire VMS home directory tree 
magically appear on my Linux system!

I believe I had to compile vmsbackup from source, there were 
some executables online but they were out of date.


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