Get info on our IRIX scsi devices...

Posted on 1998-01-19
Last Modified: 2013-12-16

I am part of a small (me and another guy) Solaris 2.4 admin team, looking after two SparcServers and 50 or so users. For our sins we have recently been given charge of a SGI runing IRIX 6.2. on our local network.

We need to install a tape drive on this machine (network backups are no longer wanted).

Here are a few questions.

How can I find the target ID of the internal?
It doesn't look like there is one. There is no format utility that we're used to. and df -k does'nt show what root's partition is.

How then do we bring it to some kinda
prom level that we're used to. There is no stop 'A' on the keyboard, We would like to do a probe-scsi or equivalent.

Also any useful info on installing a tape drive would be appreciated.

This is an easy one for you IRIX bods ;-)

Question by:rickyr
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Expert Comment

ID: 1812878
"hinv" will print out lots of information about the machine, including the IDs of the SCSI devices.  The internal disk is usually ID careful: the SGI motherboard considers itself ID 0 (in contrast to every other host I've seen, which all pick 7).

You have an opportunity to get to the SGI equivalent of the boot prom when the machine boots: on a machine with video, it'll pop up a box that says "Click here for maintenance" or something like that.  On serial-console-only machines, hit return a few times when it's booting up and you'll get there.  (Maybe you'll have to hit ^C or something, but my Origin stops in the prom mode [I haven't figured out how to get it to do unattended boots, but it must be possible].)  The SGI boot prom mode isn't very useful, but you can run "hinv" there too.

Other gotchas:

SGIs ship with one giant partition, and it's pretty involved to do a proper partitioning job.  The SCSI disk device files are pretty standard: major number indicates driver; minor indicates SCSI ID and partition.  However, SGI creates another node in /dev with the same major/minor numbers but the name "root"; it's usually that device that is listed in fstab (unless an admin with half a clue set up the machine).

The last tape I installed on an SGI was an HP 4mm DAT drive under IRIX-5.3.  It doesn't work consistently, but it was too much pain to figure out, so I just back up over the network to a Linux box with a DLT library.


Expert Comment

ID: 1812879

I have just done what you want to do. I have installed an Exabyte 8mm drive (which is in fact Sun branded and used to be attached to an Ultra 170e) to an SGI Indy running Irix 6.2.

Remarkably, the process was as simple as installing the drive, setting the SCSI ID number in the back of the drive (with the caveats above taken in to consideration) and re-booting. Irix should automatically make all the devices and links to them as it boots. Depending on the exact drive you have you will have typically /dev/tape, /dev/tapens (no byte swapping), /dev/nrtape (no rewind device - different from /dev/rmt/0n which it was on my Solaris machine) and /dev/nrtapens - you can guess what.

However I have experienced some some other problems.

- SGI machines seem to have rather frail SCSI buses. Warnings from tape drives which never gave any error message on a Sun machine can be profuse on SGI. Keep your SCSI cable as short as possible and ideally have only a couple of devices on it.

- xfsdump. Your 6.2 machine may have an xfs file system. I don't know how you plan to use your tape drive for backup, but almost every method seems to be difficult on SGI. If you use xfsdump, the tape *always* rewinds whatever device you use. This makes it difficult to keep multiple archives on one tape. xfsdump seems to take over any tape it writes to - I find it impossible to write anything to my drive after using this utility and I usually have to reset the SCSI bus or reboot.

By the way, dhm, doesn't 'reboot' do an unattended boot?

If you suspect that the Irix machine may have had a tape drive attached in the past or you need to run MAKEDEV manually, come back to me....

Author Comment

ID: 1812880
Hi dhm...
Sorry to reject your answer as it was quite helpful.
however I feel that cpranderia provided me with everything I needed to know, and the No rewind info was invaluable to me.
So I'd like to give the points to cpranderia, so if cpranderia
would like to acknowledge, then they get the points.
Thanks for everyones input.
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Accepted Solution

cpranderia earned 50 total points
ID: 1812881

Thanks for the offer of points. This is the first question I have answered on Experts Exchange! Glad to have helped

Expert Comment

ID: 1812882
Hi rickyr,

I've been a bit stoopid in the way I have answered your question. Can you reject my answer so that I can put in the 'proper' answer as the answer so that it will be preserved for others to read?

Author Comment

ID: 1812883
It's ok cpranderia, your real answer will be preserved in the question history, as are all comments, which are almost as valuable as the end answer, and allow anyone to view the progress
of the dialog between users.
Thanks again and I have graded you an "A" which will give you 200
quality points, a  very good start for you in experts-exchange.

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