Are old SCSI tape drives not all created equal?

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Sun Aug 21 18:08:46 CDT 2016

On 08/21/2016 01:13 PM, js at wrote:

> I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment.  I do have a variety of
> 4mm, 8mm, and DLT tape drives in addition to the problematic ones
> discussed earlier.  But trying other, novel mechanisms that contain
> brilliant design ideas is quite a bit as fun as well, beyond just the
> practical concern.
> Bet: I think 9 track or DLT will outlast them all, mechanism 
> longevity included.  Specifically, I think my HP 7970E will likely
> outlast every other mechanism / media combination I've got, with the
> only uncertainty being the longevity of 9 track media... but there,
> at least I've got a Mark III tape cleaner.

Given good quality media, I suspect that you're right.  In theory,
7-track tape should outlast either, but the equipment is getting pretty
hard to find.  Same for wide-tape schemes (I mentioned the Honeywell
Datamatic earlier--but there were others).

But strange and weird, if that's your thing, means that you should
probably investigate the really oddball stuff, like wafertape, stringy
floppy--and my personal choice for weird--Datasonix Pereos.  8mm
(Exabyte) drives have a pretty good chance of survival, but their
relatively lower market segment population probably dooms them.


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