Connecting the LTO Drive
PCI to SAS Card
Server techs actually use these cards to test out server tapes and drives on ordinary desktops before putting them in production. We can use this with an eGPU to make these drives work. Unfortunately, these seem to be incredibly expensive when brand new. But maybe I can find one on a scrap server?
Lucky me, because SAS is a common component on Dell PowerEdge servers.
Quantum Fiber Channel Card
Actually, one of the items I bought from the Scrapyard might be a compatible HBA card. This would work for this LTO-4 drive. Unfortunately, it is PCI-X, which would require me to buy another eGPU sub card that I don't even know if it would work.
Or would it? Looks like my fiber channel card has only one lane, and two may be required... Or is that actually a SCSI-style passthrough? Look for a two lane fiber channel card at Lion Surplus.
This one has a protector stuffed into the right-side slot. Does that mean only one lane is needed?
Running the LTO Drive
Impprt the comments from here: https://trello.com/c/O4YZf4vc/29-lto-tape-drives
PCI-E to Expresscard Slot (from eGPU)
I could use the eGPU's PCI-E slot to plug in the SCSI Card, so I can work with it from my laptops.
3Gb/s LSI PCI-e SAS HBA (non-RAID)
The most cost effective way to get SAS ports on a desktop computer is to buy a non-RAID HBA. RAID is not necessary for the LTO drive (unless you are already running a RAID). In fact, sometimes it can even be detrimental. 3Gb/s Non-RAID SAS cards can be usually found for around $10-20 used on eBay, as they are often found on old server blades from 2010-2012.
Notice that these SAS cards are cheap because they have a 2TB hard disk size limit, though that won't affect the LTO drive. Make the drive you attach is under that limit. A good choice would probably be the Hitachi 7K2000 2TB refurb drive, which goes for around $50.
LTO-4 and lower should work comfortably on 3Gb/s SAS. LTO-5 and above may require 6Gb/s SAS for better performance.
- Lenovo Shop - Tandberg Data LTO-4 External Drive - Recommends a LSI SAS3081E.
Usage in Linux
Use lsscsi to detect all connected SCSI/SAS devices. Just grab from debian and go.
sudo apt-get install lsscsi sudo lsscsi
You can install a new LSI firmware using this tool.
- SAS1068E Firmware - https://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=12767.0
LSITool is the official configuration tool from LSI. You can use it to configure the HBA and install new firmwares.
Configuration of the HBA may be necessary on linux using proprietary or open source tools