Every other Sunday we, the two programmers, had to go in for seven and a half hours overtime. That consisted of backup to a TU11 tape drive of the 2 RK07 disc drives, full format of the 28Mb drives, then restore it all from tape. There was no 'DEFRAG' back then !
( DEC RK07 - http://computer-refuge.org/dec-pics/rk07.html )
( Tech info, if you must - http://gunkies.org/wiki/RK07 )
You either did that, or watch the entire system grind to a halt if you left it longer than 2 weeks.
So, it needed two people for safety reasons. There was a big Halon gas cannister in the computer room, nobody was allowed to enter without someone outside who could raise the alarm if the cannister went off.
It took seven and a half hours to write the tapes, format the drives and restore the data, then take the tapes off-site as that session's full backup. You didn't take lunch break, the boss considered it was one long break apart from the occasional 2 minutes to swap a tape.
Most of the time we were sat reading in the programmers room. Not much else you could do. This was pre PC, pre Internet days. As long as you were ready to change the tape every 27 minutes, or whatever it took, you could do no more.
The drives had a special lid that you had to engage to get them out of the cabinet. A 'sealed' drive could be taken off site for safe storage, if we were on 'full' backup. The idea being that we could backup drive to drive and swap the physical discs over.
BUT, if you dropped the disc, there was a little blue indicator to show it was 'damaged beyond repair'. If, as sometimes happened, we were replacing the entire disc unit, the DEC engineer would be called to deal with the old disc unit. He would simply drop it, see that the indicator was blue, and toss it in a skip...!
Dafter still - the indicator was in the lid - not on the drive itself. You could, in theory, have dropped a disc, then swapped the lids over when you installed the now 'dead' platter, call an engineer out, have him replace it FOC and just tell the boss it had failed.
So much for security back then.
(In later years I managed to reverse a 1200/75 modem, supplied for diagnostics, and use a dumb terminal to access the new fangled bulletin boards - but that's another story...)
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Virgin Cable (L)
Virgin Cable (L)