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Eaten by a robot


We have a giant SL8500 tape library at work, which regularly needs to be fed. I once had the dull task of feeding the beast 600 tape media though the front-end CAP, at 14 media per time, which took me quickly about 4 hours to perform. Yesterday, we had a new batch of 300 tapes, which had to be entered. Luckily, the StorageTek technicians were present, doing a firmware upgrade of the library. As they opened the library for easy access of some vital parts, I took the chance of entering the machine, and putting the tapes in their slots from the inside.

A SL8500 is a U-shaped library, which can be entered from top of the 'U'. On the long sides, tapes reside on both sides, and on the curved side of the U, the tape drives are mounted. So I accessed the library in a narrow corridor of 2 meter tall walls, completely filled with tapes containing the precious electronic data of my enterprise. These corridors sure are narrow, so I guess one of the requirements of being a StorageTek admin is not having a Burger King subscription. I only hoped that the technicians didn't forget to deacivate the handbots, cause an encounter with a iron gripper, moving at 5 meters/second would definitively send me on a one-trip down to the cemetery.

The picture doesn't do the library right : in this dark corridor, only being lit by some faint LEDs, and with my crappy phone camera, only the lowest 50 centimeters are visible (I placed the camera on the floor). Imagine this being 2 meters high, and 15 meters long, and you have an idea what we're talking about.

I finished in an hour, and once the STK engineers had finished their labor, I let the library rescan its new inventory, which it finished within 3 minutes (I love StorageTek hardware). 450 new Terabytes ready to use. Happy munching, Optapemus Prime !


Here's a better overview of our SL8500 inside (almost the triple of your site ;)

I guess the price tag is a bit overwhelming! Impressive picture!