How to use new SSD and HDD drives most effectively

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,162
Re: Great info so far

CAcreeks wrote:

Most tape drives were almost as unreliable as floppy disks, although that didn't stop vendors from trying.

One of the best programs I had the pleasure to use was the VMS Backup utility for Digital Equipment's VAX computers.  It had the ability to write redundancy blocks to the backup saveset to recover from unreadable sections of tape.  I remember watching the tape drive during an important restore one day - the reels were whirling around at high speed, but then they stopped suddenly and started jerking back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and forth.  The drive was trying and failing to read a block.   I remember exhorting the drive "please, please PLEASE!".   Then suddenly the reels started spinning again and the backup completed successfully with nary a whimper.  My hat was off to that program.

Another favourite was the "Westinghouse Disk Utility System", a third-party backup program we used with our IBM 360/40.  The manual included these "Ten Commandments of Reliability":

  1. Thou shalt use the Westinghouse programs for they checketh high and they checketh low and even verify whereof they write upon the disk.
  2. Thou shalt use standard tape labels.
  3. Thou shalt use unique volume serial numbers on all tapes and disks.
  4. Thou shalt pitcheth any tape with too many write transgressions for they may not be redeemed.
  5. Thou shalt cleanse all tape drives first thing every shift.
  6. Thou shalt enjoin thy operators to treat all tape reels and disk volumes with reverence, so as to minimize repeated mechanical deformations beyond the elastic limits of those objects.
  7. Thou shalt believe in all Function 00-06 error messages, and gainsay both 'Ditto' and your IBM CE, for they speak with forked tongue.
  8. Thou shalt use DASD file protect in thy DOS supervisor, verily though it cheweth up core with your systems programmer covets.
  9. Thou shalt post and check record counts on all formatted files at every backup and restore.
  10. Thou shalt periodically backup everything in sight on every disk volume, and cunningly stash said backups in a sanctuary away from the iniquities of the computer room.
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