How to Restore Solaris Tapes under Linux

We retired our Solaris server several years ago. I thought I am done with it forever. I was wrong. One user asked me to restore some 8mm tapes which were backed up under Solaris. The major problem is that we don’t even have the tape drive to restore them. Fortunately, my friend still has one Exabyte 8700 external drive that I can borrow.

I hurried to my friend’s office and get the drive. I then set the tape drive up on my test system. I have not used Linux to backup or restore tapes. It took me a while to remember what commands I should use. For tape drive control, one should use mt, and tar, dd and dump/restore are for backup and restore. The mt works for me well, I can use it to rewind and eject the tape. However, none of the tar, dd or restore works for me. Just when I was about to pull my hair out, I decided to check my old notes. I then found out that I need to change the block size using mt. Finally, I was able to restore the tapes. I am writing this blog entry, so that I can refer to it later on.

export TAPE=/dev/nst0

mt setblk 10240

tar xv