TZK10 ain’t so QIC

The TZK10 is a DEC quarter-inch tape drive, using QIC-525-DC standard: 512MB on a DC6525 tape; 320MB on a DC6320 tape. These were my primary backup media for my 1990s-era unix cluster through the first decade of the 2000s.

The largest drive of the DECStation which drove the tape was 954MiB, and other systems it was backing up had drives around the same size. Multiple tapes for a level zero were not uncommon, although the small size of incrementals easily fit on the 320MB cartridges. As soon as I started to have drives larger than around 1GiB (which were typically partitioned into tape-size pieces) I moved on to 8mm Exabyte, which held 7GiB. (I had a 4mm DAT, but never got it working.)

The TZK10 was slow, less than 200k/s from the DECStation. This was still fast enough to write out the meager contents of my drives overnight.

I haven’t used it for almost a decade, and in the continuing pressure from the family to stop hoarding obsolete unused equipment, it’s now staged in a bin with all its tapes for disposal. Hopefully I’ll get a nibble on twitter so at least the drive itself will live on. (I believe it’s still functional.)

Is there anything on these tapes that I need? That I want? I think had some flac files (of all things) but I haven’t pulled them off since I them on in the late 90s, and I got them from etree, so I figure I could probably find them again if I cared enough. The last dump deathmask? I could run it under emulation, but would I?

I have the last dump. from 2007. it all fits on a single cartridge. I haven’t had any need to get anything from it in over a decade. I went to copy it off, “just in case,” to provide a sense of closure. The drive is dead. Doesn’t power on, doesn’t latch, doesn’t load. I guess I really don’t need it, and now the computaverse is telling me so. (I have needed to go back to other archives from a similar era, but they were from data and project drives, not the mundane OS /, /var, /usr backups…)

Farewell TZK10. I will miss your sound.

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