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3.3 volt PCI slots, old drives and a long week

© December 2006 Anthony Lawrence

Yeah, I know: the week is not quite over yet. That's OK; I started early.

I've done two SCO upgrades this week. As much as I wanted to move both of these folks to Linux, it just could not be done easily: one was running old Medical Manager software and the other had MAS90. I suppose it *might* be possible to run these under ABI, but for both these companies the application was and is "mission critical" and it's just not worth introducing any chance of problems.

The MAS90 conversion was the smoothest: I installed SCO 5.0.7 on a new machine, popped in the Microlite Edge DVD-RAM and did the usual things. No issues, quick, simple, done.

The Medical Manager job was a bit more trouble. This was an old SCO 5.0.4 Host system (no tcp/ip) and, in retrospect, I should have spent the extra money to upgrade them to 5.0.7 Enterprise. I didn't because there is no network; it's a one person office, one user, no internet: a doctor who is getting close to retirement but needs this system to run for a few more years. So I just bought a upgrade to 5.0.7 Host, and came to regret it very quickly.

The obvious first problem was to transfer the data. The old system was old IDE with a scsi tape, but I went SATA with DVD-RAM with the new to keep expenses down. I thought I'd just mount the old drive as a secondary, but just could not get by drive geometry issues. It's an old Quantum Bigfoot drive, and while I could put it in the new box and boot it successfully, I could only do that by disabling the SATA, even when running as legacy IDE. I don't want to mess with something this old until I'm sure I have backups restored somewhere else..

Oh well, it's not a lot of data, I'll just swap the tape controller over.. ooops.. what the heck?..

It's been a while since I've seen a non-universal PCI card, but of course that's what this old beast had. You can't put an old 5.5 volt PCI card in a new 3.3 volt system unless it's universal, so that's out. Hmmm..

Well, I can buy a new scsi card, or I can send a tape out for conversion. You'd think the second option would be cheap: all I want is a dd of the tape to a CD - ten minutes work if you have the equipment. I thought maybe $100.00 or so? Nope: best quote I got from a tape conversion place was $350.00 and that was an "estimate". Heck, I can get a low end SCSI controller for $100.00 or less.. obviously that's what I'll do.

I suppose overall that still works out cheaper than buying the Enterprise upgrade, but it does delay things: I wanted to get this whole thing done this week, and now that's not going to happen. Oh well..

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-> 3.3 volt PCI slots, old drives and a long week


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Thu Dec 14 15:35:00 2006: 2732   BigDumbDinosaur

...or I can send a tape out for conversion. You'd think the second option would be cheap: all I want is a dd of the tape to a CD - ten minutes work if you have the equipment. I thought maybe $100.00 or so? Nope: best quote I got from a tape conversion place was $350.00 and that was an "estimate".

You should have sent the tape to me. I would have done the conversion for you for 100 bucks, including the blank CD and return shipping. I even have a semi-automated setup for doing this sort of stuff -- I make CD's from tapes for several of my clients at year's end for data posterity. Oh well! <Grin>

As for Quantum BigFoot drives, I though all of those 5-1/4 inch boat anchors were in landfills next to old Seagate ST-412 MFM drives and Archive QIC-02 tape units.

Thu Dec 14 15:38:31 2006: 2733   TonyLawrence

Well, I haven't bought the scsi yet - if you can do that quickly, sure, I'm happy to send it.

Thu Dec 14 18:01:23 2006: 2736   rbailin

The other possiblity is using an IDE-to-SATA adapter card and plug the old drive into the 2nd SATA port.

The reason you can't have the SATA ports enabled in legacy mode while booting from the IDE port is that the SATA ports are probably mapped as the primary IDE controller and the IDE port as the secondary controller, and you can't boot SCO 5.0.4 from a secondary controller.


Thu Dec 14 18:43:52 2006: 2737   TonyLawrence

No, I wasn't trying to boot from it - just mount it as a secondary. But even though I have the drive correctly stamped, the bios doesn't give me any opportunity to specify how I want it to see the second drive.. so it's "there", but the geometry is off so I can't get at the filesystems.. and of course I'm afraid to do too much too it until I know I have safe backup..

If I disable the sata, it will boot.. so you would think it could work as a secondary.. but enabling the sata changes something..

Fri Dec 15 16:47:20 2006: 2746   rbailin

See the man page for dparam(ADM).

Apparently, if you have 2 drives (drive0 and drive1), the geometry for drive1 is actually stored in the masterboot block of drive0.

I would try booting from drive1 after disabling SATA, get drive1's geometry using dparam, then re-enabling SATA and booting from drive0 with drive1 as the secondary drive. Before accessing drive1, use dparam display the kernel's view of drive1's geometry. It's probably not the same as what you got above, and if you use dparam to stamp the correct geometry, you'll now be able to access the filesystems on drive1.


Fri Dec 15 22:44:44 2006: 2747   TonyLawrence

Yeah, I did that: stamped it and restamped.. no luck.. it's OK, BDD converted a tape for me so I don't need to bother any more.


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