SUMMARY: Info needed on Exabyte Stackers and Pioneer CDROM Changers

Date: Thu Feb 18 1993 - 03:33:20 CST

The original question was:

> We are looking at investing in both an Exabyte 8500 with stacker attachment and
> a Pioneer CDROM changer (model 600 or 604). Does anyone out there have any
> comments (positive or negative) they'd like to share about these contraptions?
> Thanks in advance. I will summarize and post the replies.

The overall responses on the Prioneer CDROM changer (models 600 or 604) were
very positive. The only reservation was one response which talked about how
the system was frozen while CDs were being changed.

The Exabyte stacker responses were varied. The point was made about the two
diffrent models about there, the Model 10 and 10i. The plain, vanilla 10
will only feed tapes sequentially. Random access feeding is accomplished by
buying the 10i with custom software from the vendor (or writing it yourself).
Some people seemed to have excellent performance with them while others had
various mehcanical problems.

The responses follow. Thanks much to everyone who replied.

                                                           Janaka Jayawardena
LOCAL: janaka Systems Manager - Electrical Engineering (503)-725-3806
USNAIL: Portland State University (EE), P.O.Box 751, Portland, OR 97207

From: tots!tots.Logicon.COM!tep@UCSD.EDU
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 93 10:34:19 PST
X-Organization: Logicon, Inc., San Diego, California

Talk to Louis Brune at Andataco (andataco!, or maybe, +1 619 453-9191). He once showed me an Exabyte cartridge
with ROUNDED CORNERS, because he had run it through the stacker for
weeks, to test its reliability!

Tom E. Perrine (tep) | tep@Logicon.COM |Voice: +1 619 597 7221
Logicon, Inc. | sun!suntan!tots!tep | or : +1 619 455 1330
4010 Sorrento Valley Blvd| | FAX: +1 619 552 0729
San Diego CA 92121-1498 | Every child is a gifted child !

From: (Jason Hargis)

        We just bought a Pioneer CD-ROM Drive (model 600), I like the way that it works, however there is one small thing you might wish to think about. When the CD-ROM drive must access a new disk it takes a couple of seconds, while it changes disks, the workstation it is connected to will "freeze" for 1 to 2 seconds, it may not be that big of an issue, however it could get to "bugging" if diskschange offen.

Jason L. Hargis |E-Mail: (internet)
UNIX Systems Administrator |Phone : (503) 682-5536
Praegitzer Design Inc. |FAX : (503) 685-5544
9255 SW Pioneer Court
Wilsonville Oregon, 97070

From: ogicse!bit! (Jay Lessert)

Nothing on the CDROM changer, but we have an 8500 with an ACL 600
"dumb" six-tape stacker from Apunix and like it very much. Zero
stacker misfeeds in over a year (about 10 tapes/week)

The stacker is *very* simple, and fairly cheap (about $1000 more than
buying the drive in a simple enclosure). It is not random access, just
single pass sequential access (eject one tape, load the next, etc.).
Just what we needed since the application is unattended backups, not a
general-purpose tape library. No device driver is needed, you just go
'mt offline' to eject one tape and load the next. ACL also makes a
15-tape version.

Apunix Computer Services
5575 Ruffin Road
Suite 110
San Diego, CA 92123 USA
1-619-495-9229, (fax)1-619-495-9230

Automated Cartridge Libraries, Inc.
1224 Sherman Drive
Longmont, CO 80501 USA
1-303-651-1224 (fax)1-303-776-7500

Jay Lessert {decwrl,,sun,verdix}!bit!jayl
Bipolar Integrated Technology, Inc.
503-629-5490 (fax)503-690-1498

From: "Peter D. Bille" <>
Date: 16 Feb 93 07:16:17 PST

As far as the Exabyte 8500 in a stacker, it really depends on what
you are going to use it for. I do not recommend using this
device as a nearline solution. The Exabyte drives do not preform
well in these enviroments. They are not good at block addressing and
tend to hang-up after a couple of days. However if you are going to
use this as a backup device only, it is probably the best cost per mb
solution available. I also suggest using the stacker supplied by
Exabyte. Either their EXB10 or EXB10I, the EXB10 just does
sequential backups and requires no special drivers to work on a SUn
system. (you will need backup scripts) The EXB10I will allow random
access and their are a few good software packages available.

We have tried some of the less expensive stackers and they seem to
require more ajustments to aline the drive on a regular basis.

I have no experience with the CDROM changers.

Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1993 09:53:33 -0600
From: Steve Letter <>

We are using an Exabyte 10i with Legato Networker, can't say that
I recommend this combination now. We've broken two 8500 tape drives
in three months of usage (when the stacker closes the drive door)
and have had a multitude of small problems.

We've had this set up for about a year, but did not start using it
for anything other than evaluation until three months ago. To their
credit, both Exabyte and Legato have been very good at fixing the
problems as they come up and I believe that within the next 90 days
the system will have settled in and will be worth recommending.

                Steve Letter (sletter@Houston.GeoQuest.SLB.COM)

                Schlumberger - GeoQuest
                5858 Westheimer Rd., Suite 800
                Houston, TX 77057-5648

                (713) 952-2100
                Fax (713) 952-2420

From: alida!swj@uunet.UU.NET (Stephen W. Jay)


One important point on the Exabyte 10i stacker, alot of vendors sell them
without any drivers. The stacker gets its control commands from the scsi
buss (serial optional) and unless you want to write your own driver, make sure
that your vendor or backup software vendor supplies one.

ps, the Exb 10i mechanism appears to be quite reliable and the internal 8500
is completely generic and swapable.

| Stephen W. Jay | Alida, Inc. | GURUtape |
| | 27 McDermott Place | GT rje |
| (800) 883-GURU | Bergenfield, NJ 07621 | GT Backup |
From: (Tim Evans)
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1993 07:29:23 -0500 (EST)

>We are looking at investing in both an Exabyte 8500 with stacker attachment and
>a Pioneer CDROM changer (model 600 or 604). Does anyone out there have any
>comments (positive or negative) they'd like to share about these contraptions?
This is not exactly related, but here's something to chew on anyway. We
run an 8mm tape jukebox (not a stacker) and use it for unattended backups.
We have a *lot* of disk around the network and are finding that there's
a major time bottleneck in doing backups when you only have one tape
drive. Even if you have 20-30GB capacity with these devices, you're
still backing up ONE SYSTEM AT A TIME. In our case, full backups take
the entire weekend.

IMHO, when you get to this situation, having spent the money on a stacker
or jukebox is not necessarily the best way to have spent money. You
get much more bang for the backup buck by running multiple backups in
parallel on multiple tape drives than you do with a jukebox or stacker.
That is, I can back up 5 machines AT THE SAME TIME if they each have a
tape drive, without clogging up the network. If each backup takes an
hour, the five backups are done in a total of one hour; if the backups
are going to a stacker or jukebox, the backup takes FIVE hours.

UUCP:		{rutgers|ames|uunet}!mimsy!wb3ffv!fallst!tkevans
Tim Evans	2201 Brookhaven Ct, Fallston, MD 21047
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1993 10:42:29 +0800 (WST)

Re Exabyte stackers - work fine, had very few problems. The only one is that sometimes the door doesn't quite close properly, or pops open while the drive is in use, turning it offline.

If you intend to use the stacker with a third-party software package and expect it to intelligently find the correct tape in the stack, be aware that you will need an Exabyte 10i (not just a 10), and software drivers to do this. A client of mine mistakenly assumed that their backup and retrieval package would automatically search for tapes in any case and bought a 10 and the "plain vanilla" software version...

Don't quote my name! My client might get a bit upset if they see it...

======================================================================= From: (Mike Caplinger)

I just installed a Pioneer DRM-604X a few days ago. You don't need a special driver and it's much faster then the 600 was. I was quite pleased.

Mike Caplinger, MSSS/Caltech Mars Observer Camera Project,

======================================================================= From: (Marc Phillips)

We have three 10i Exabyte stackers, with 8500 drives in them. We purchased them along with some really good drivers from AP-Unix. They have been a dream come true.

Marc Phillips

======================================================================= >From: (Larry Williamson) >Newsgroups: comp.sys.sun.admin

We just received a Pioneer 604x changer yesterday. Looks like a very nice machine.

It is unfortunate that it is an odd shape when placed on a stack of Sun equipment, but that's life, eh? Maybe it looks better stacked on a Pioneer computer :-)

The 604X is seems fast. This is a subjective measurment. It is rated at 600Kbytes/sec

I booted the SunOS 4.1.3 CD ROM and installed on a sparc 10 just last night using this drive. No problems at all.

We've ordered some special driver from Tracer Technologies in Maryland (301) 977-1398. It has not arrived yet, but from my conversations with the tech people there, it sounds like a good package.

-Larry ======================================================================= Date: Wed, 17 Feb 93 16:25:53 MST From: Mario Nigrovic <>

Janaka - I recently purchased an exabyte 8500C with an exabyte 10i (stacker). The 8500C is internal to the stacker, so this may not be what you're talking about.

I have no complaints about the stacker (it needs special software to intelligently select cartridges, but this was part of the package). The door on the Exabyte 8500C jammed open on me once, within one month of installation. The drive was replaced, and the salesperson/fae was able to close the door with a fair amount of force as he packaged it up to go. Probably some grit got on one of the door wheels; I've had some problems closing the doors on my other exabytes, but none had ever jammed before.


Mario Nigrovic <> voice: (602) 821-4264 Motorola Western MCU Design Center fax: (602) 821-4058 * - - - - - - - - - - -*- - - - - - - - - - - * Ban the bomb. Save the world for conventional warfare. * - - - - - - - - - - -*- - - - - - - - - - - *

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