Is there a command I can run to rotate and manipulate the tapes on a Sun StorEdge L8?

Posted on 2004-11-18
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
I need to be able to rotate tapes from the command line in Solaris 9 that will rotate the tapes before running a backup. I don't want to purchase any additional software and I do not have Veritas Backup Manager. I run backups from scripts using "ufsdump".
Question by:truelove258
    LVL 48

    Expert Comment

    You can do a

    mt offline

    to unload a tape.  Not sure if you can get it to load the next tape though.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Tintin has pointed you to the right direstion.

    "mt" is the command to play with tapes,

      rewind tape:
     mt -f /dev/rmt/0n rewind

      forward tape by x EOF mark
      mt -f /dev/rmt/0n fsf x

       mt -f /dev/rmt/0n fsf  offline

    man mt
    to learn more details


    Author Comment

    Yes. I know how to use mt to unload tapes and rewind and forward tapes. But for the L8, I need to know how to rotate it, if there is a way. I've heard that some guys have found a way within the solaris commands to rotate the tape drive.
    LVL 20

    Accepted Solution

    I can't find any info on command line/programming interfaces to the L8, but  MTX (free) from  works with Solaris & the L8, and gives you the command-line control.

    Or, at it's simplest: Set the L8 to "Sequential" mode, so that when you use `mt offline` to unload a tape, it loads the next one automatically.  I suppose you could keep track of which tape was loaded and then keep ejecting tapes until it came round to the one you wanted. See for details on switching "Sequential" and "Circular" modes on.


    Author Comment

    I'll take into account your advice about using "sequential" mode. I don't know if I want to trust freeware on an enterprise system though. I was hoping there was some "backware" loaded into Solaris 9 that few people knew about. I'll keep asking and I still hoping someone knows the answer (if there is one).
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    Sun StorEdge Enterprise Backup software v. 7.1 (Previously Solstice Backup suite) is expensive, especially when you add the Autoloader control modules - If you didn't buy the software bundled with the L8, you may be able to download the older version, 7.0, for evaluation - but I don't know what charges/licencing/conditions apply for that version.

    An alternative would be to find out what the L8 is based on, and see if the original manufacturer has published a programmers guide so you can write your own backup management system - But personally, I'd go for MTX at least for the command-line + programming utilities and maybe write your own database/tape management system.

    Author Comment

    tfewster's answer worked beautifully. Setting the L8 to sequential mode on, circular mode on, autload mode on and using the mt -r /dev/rmt/0nc rewoffl unloaded the tape and rotated to the next one. Thank yo!!

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