|wickensonline.co.uk Retrochallenge 2009 Summer Challenge Entry Work-in-progress|
Work In Progress
Well, I finally bit the bullet on Saturday and started coding. Hurrah. One of
the problems I'm having is that although the OpenVMS documentation is extensive,
finding what you need to know without a clue or too is hard work.
Anyway, I managed to catch 'The Hoff' on the OpenVMS IRC channel run on behalf
of the Death Row Cluster and he managed to point me in the right direction.
As an aside, my shipment of 14 Compaq 4.3GB SBB canisters arrived a few days ago
and I managed to have a look inside the big-ass box that they came in. They're
not all sealed, but a fair few are:
Finding anything new like this always gives me a lovely, warm feeling. Doubly so
when it involves hard drives. I amassed quite a collection of 50 pin SCSI drives
early on in my VAXstation ownership to try and find a few that were not horribly
noisy and were therefore likely to last a while. For some reason I never really
looked into what DIGITAL provided, and ended up settling for Quantum Atlas
II/III 18GB 80 pin wide SCSI drives as, with a converter, you could run them
happily as system disks on the 4000/90.
Any road up, these new drives fit into something called a BA356, which is an
eight slot enclosure and can either hook up via 8 bit or 16 bit scsi depending
on the 'personality module'. On 8 bit scsi unless you have a dedicated scsi bus
for the enclosure you have to be careful to not use the same drive number in the
external enclosure as you've assigned to internal hard drives or CDROMs.
Here's a picture of the BA356, with drive DKA500 (SCSI ID 5) working hard
backing up an internal drive:
You can tell it's SCSI ID 5 because it's the sixth (SCSI IDs start at zero) slot
from the right. On the right hand side is the 'personality module' which is
where the SCSI cable plugs in, on the left is the power supply unit (you can fit
two for redundancy).
All in all a nice bit of kit. The VAXstation is still snuggled under the desk as
Whilst the backup is running, the VAX is running at about 30% CPU in the
verification phase, as it ensures that the backup is a perfect copy. Always good
The plan with all this is long and convaluted but might end up with me taking
the contents of my VAX drives away with me on the IBM X60 tablet in the form of
drive image files, mountable by the SIMH VAX simulator. So I need to make
copies of the two drives on the VAXstation I'm using, unplug the BA356 and
connect it to another VAX running NetBSD, dd the contents of the drive into
images (probably on an NFS mounted drive attached to the linux server), ftp them
onto the laptop and fire up the simulator. Phew, if that works, everyone will be
1. Death Row Cluster
2. SIMH Hardware Simulator