Old assorted media archiving

By scortillion ·
We have a large assortment of old storage media holding data and operation systems; because the media is getting very old we want to move it to a network storage before the old storage media goes bad.

The storage media is of many types, 9 inch real to real, TK50 and above, an assortment of floppies of different sizes, and just about any other type you can think of.

The operating systems are of many types too, we have VAX, OS9 (not MAC), Dos, HP BASIC, HP UNIX, DOS, Windows, and others.

What I need to be able to do is capture images of each media type, store it on the network, and when needed put it back on either the same media or a CD or DVD; eventually we would ideally like to deliver it over the network.

Does anyone know of software that will capture a image of ANY media type, store it on a Windows or Linux system and then allow us to put the image back on the same type of media and/or DVD or CD.

I know it?s a lot, but any help would be appreciated.


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Hmmm...interesting challenge

by robo_dev In reply to Old assorted media archiv ...

I would assume the only way to read the data off a VAX tape backup would be with a VAX server of some sort, same thing with the HP Basic, OS9, etc.

Even if you did some straight binary copy or the tape, like a data recovery exercise, that would not be useful.

For example, if the tape contains a VAX database file backup that contains tax data, and the IRS wants a report from that data, a binary copy of a binary database would not give you access to that data. You would have to mount the tape on the operating system that created it and open the database with the correct application.

The DOS/Windows stuff is easy, the HPUX stuff is not too difficult, and the VAX/HP Basic and OS9 stuff is very difficult.

I hate to be a pessimist, but what you are looking to do is somewhat specialized, and not something that people need to do every day.

Therefore the best solution would be to really closely scrutinize if all the data is REALLY required. If you have access to systems that can read/retrieve the data, and if the cost of conversion is worth it or not.

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It's possible, but is it worthwhile?

by oldbaritone In reply to Old assorted media archiv ...

I too have a wide variety of "dinosaur" data - including old CP/M 8" disks, N*DOS "10-hard-sector" disks, QIC (60-Meg) tapes, 9-track reel-to-reel tapes and more.

Sometimes, I have thought about trying to convert them to newer media. In fact, most of the collection would fit on a single DVD disk.

But honestly, what's the point? OK, maybe there's some old data that might have sentimental value, but who's ever going to try to boot a CP/M system, or VAX/PDP system except a museum as a curiosity? Is a 10- or 20-MB MFM drive or a 30-MB RLL drive really ever going to live again, let alone a Priam tower? All you'll ever demonstrate is how much smaller and slower they are compared to current technology.

Executable files generally run only on their original systems. Are there emulators to run the programs you're trying to preserve? There are some, but again what's the point?

That leaves the data itself. What data are you trying to preserve? If it's text documents, that shouldn't be too difficult to move to a newer format. Graphics were fairly limited in that day, and universal interchange formats like DXF can still be read today.

And that should amount to much less data than the entire backups from all of the systems.

If you're dead-set on doing it, there are plenty of vendors who can help you through the piecemeal recovery of the data. Bring a thick wallet; such services usually aren't cheap.

As for one single read-all, do-all, write-all software: I don't think such a thing exists, but there are programs that can handle some of those, and if you get several of them, you may be able to accomplish what you want.

Good luck.

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That was my thought

by CharlieSpencer In reply to It's possible, but is it ...

A vendor isn't going to be cheap, like oldbaritone said. This is a one-shot project; is it worth purchasing the software (and possibly hardware; do you still have drives to read all this old magnetic media?), acquiring the skills, and spending the time to do this in house?

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Not my choice

by scortillion In reply to Old assorted media archiv ...

I work for the goverment and they TOLD me what they wanted, not caring if the data is needed or not. So I need to find a way to move all this data to a server as an image then back to same media when (and if) needed by the original equipment.

Then want it network deliverable, but that's way down the road and not possible with a lot of the old equipment.

So does anyone know of ANY software that will read ANY data type and save it to a server or CD or DVD that will later burn it back to the original media type and be usable?

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Request for Clarification

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Not my choice

So here you can actually put the data into a drive and read it?

What I'm asking is there currently any way to read the Stored Data that you need to move about?


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by scortillion In reply to Old assorted media archiv ...

Yes I can read all the data now, but usually on the specific computer running the specific OS. But I NEED to be able to hook the device that reads the media (tape, floppy, whatever) to a windows or linux pc, read the media and save it as an image then later, if needed, can be put back on the original media type and loaded onto the correct Computer.

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