Thanks to everyone who responded. I was the guy who couldn't
restore root partition from tape because the tape drive we are
using isn't supported by the default kernel supplied with 4.1.3.
There were lots of good suggestions:
o Have a bootable CD-ROM made that supports tape drive.
o There's software out there that makes bootable tapes.
o Have a second bootable disk that has reconfigured kernel.
o Make customer responsible for restoring disk.
As it turns out, the firmware in the tape drive itself can be
reconfigured so that it looks like a supported drive to the
kernel (makes Exabyte 8205 look like an 8200). Thanks again
for the ideas.
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