VAX wanted in Bristol, UK

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Mon Dec 9 15:28:01 2002

--- Eric Smith <> wrote:
> I wrote (about Leadville, Colorado):
> > it is not possible to operate most VAX systems there within the rated
> > specifications of all of the subsystems.
> Dave Woodman wrote:
> > Altitude?
> Bingo!
> Disk drives are almost always rated for operation to a maximum altitude
> of 10K feet above sea level.

I've run into that problem in Antarctica - people want to put hard
disks on the side of Mt. Erebus (~13,000 ft) for seismic data collection,
and Amundsen-Scott South Pole station is nominally at 9,300 ft, but
because of the rotation of the earth, the troposphere is noticably
thinner at the poles than the equator - the atmospheric pressure
regularly fluctuates between 620-680 millibars. It rarely exceeds 700
(it in fact did during my visit, which blew up a poorly written spread-
sheet used to track weather statistics). The physio-altitude
(calculated from temp/pressure/humidity to gauge the effect on humans)
at Pole ranges from 9,500 to 14,000 ft.

On Erebus, they use pressurized drive canisters for external SCSI drives.
At Pole, they don't do anything special. Drives die all the time. To
add insult to injury, massively dry air holds a lot less heat than the
air you and I are breathing right now - computers and hard disks frequently
die from overheating at the South Pole - the air is thinner and drier
and can't conduct as much heat away from CPUs and drives.

ObVax: as late as 1997, VAXen were still in daily use at McMurdo and
Pole as primary DNS servers ( and station monitor drivers
(via VT420s around Pole with weather and flight info updated
frequently). Not sure when they retired them. Probably only recently
if at all.


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Received on Mon Dec 09 2002 - 15:28:01 GMT

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