VAXstation 3100 history (Was ... different)

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Wed Dec 1 14:45:20 1999

--- wrote:
> If you want to see slow, remember the process of building standalone
> backup on TU58's on a 11/750 or 11/730? We're talking most of a *day*!
> No wonder we've tried to erase those times from our memories :-).

Ah... you needed the scripts I wrote eleven years ago... they would
build a console TU58 with EXCHANGE and sling the files out to the tape
in the right order. The benefit was that apparently the microprocessor
in the TU58 (at least on the 11/730, don't know about the 11/750) would
buffer the directory so that the only seeks were to *read* files, not to
*locate* the files.

Our 11/730 reboot time went from 18 minutes to under six with properly
constructed tapes. It became a function of the serial line speed and
tape velocity, not of random seek times on a 250-foot tape. You heard the
drive go and go and go with occasional pauses at each new file. Every
time I rebooted I was glad I'd taken an afternoon to automate the building
process (which I had to re-do with every VMS major update).

Boy... lots of VAX stuff flying the past few days. I'm going to have to
fire something up and remind myself why I don't use 1980-vintage hardware
on a daily basis. It was fun, but *damn* it was slow. I got a lot of reading
done back in those days... seven hour offline backups, five hour upgrades...
oh, yeah... the "good" old days. ;-) At least the stuff stayed up for more
than ten minutes. Our record was 45 days between VAX reboots, but only because
we were developing software and would have periods of several reboots per day
to clear device drivers. Since then, I've seen uptimes on the cluster at
measured in months.


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Received on Wed Dec 01 1999 - 14:45:20 GMT

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