• Register

Best way to read SCSI tape drive on a modern PC?

+3 votes

We recently aquired a number of DLT-IV and DDS-1 tapes, and we'd like to recover the data stored on them. We already have readers for both tape formats; however these are both SCSI devices, and since modern PCs don't have SCSI connectors we cannot hook them up directly. After a bit of Googling I came up with a few options myself:

  1. Buy a SCSI to USB adapter cable (used, as these are not produced anymore). However, I came across some reports that this is not a good option for tape drives, as tape transport commands (rewind, fas-forward) won't work. See e.g. here

  2. Buy a writeblocker that has a SCSI connection. I'd expect that this would have the same limitations as option 1 above (also, these days no-one seems to be making SCSI writeblockers anymore)

  3. Buy a used SCSI adapter card and build that into the machine that is used for imaging (but are these cards even compatible with modern desktops?).

  4. Do the imaging using an old desktop that already has a SCSI card (or is compatible with it). For various reasons I'd rather not go this route unless absolutely necessary ...

As I don't want to reinvent the wheel, I'm curious if anyone with experience reading SCSI-connected tape drives could give me some recommendations on the best way to proceed with this. (BTW the workstation we'll be using for data extraction runs Linux.)

asked Jun 6, 2018 by johanvanderknijff (2,070 points)
Also see the answers/suggestions in this Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/bitsgalore/status/1004333430350536705

2 Answers

+3 votes
I can confirm success using option 1, SCSI to USB adapter, for reading SDLT tapes.    Our setup includes HP Storageworks SDLT 320 tape drive,  Microtech SCSI-HD50 SCSI Bridge (SCSI to USB adapter), and modern Linux (Ubuntu 18.04 and Bit Curator 14.04 both tested).

With this setup, using mt (to control the tape drive) and tar copy the data has been successful.
answered Sep 12, 2019 by decirella (270 points)
edited Sep 13, 2019 by decirella
+2 votes

Update - we managed to get this all working, see below blog post for a discussion + links to full descriptions of the developed workflows (including hardware):


answered Feb 11, 2019 by johanvanderknijff (2,070 points)