Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I need to read Imation LTO-3 tapes on a PC, because we have to read too many of them and our server is busy (reading LT03 tapes). What would I need to accomplish that?

  • Do I need an special SCSI card?
  • Could I use RedHat or Windows 2008 on PC? It would depend on the files saved in the tapes?
  • Would be any device to just plug on PC and lets read the tapes?
share|improve this question
Do I need an special SCSI card?

You'd need another LTO-3 (or 4/5/6) drive yes and you can usually buy them with different connection type, though I'm not aware of there being anything as simple as say a USB or Firewire connected version. Most LTO 3 drives have a parallel SCSI 160 LVD connection so using one of those would require an appropriate SCSI card, I like Adaptecs ones. If you went for an LTO-4 or higher version they make SAS versions, which may be easier to deal with.

Could I use RedHat or Windows 2008 on PC? It would depend on the files saved in the tapes?

I'd strongly advise using the same OS as the machine it was backed up from.

Would be any device to just plug on PC and lets read the tapes?

Not that I'm aware of, there might be a SCSI 160 LVD to USB/firewire converter but that may be as complex as just buying a SCSI/SAS card.

share|improve this answer
Ok. The LTO-3 drive that we have is HP 1/8 G2 Tape Autoloader. As you can see here, there are a lot of o/s that can work with that drive. But what if I don't know what o/s was used to backup those tapes? If I choose RedHat and it was backed up with Suse, would be there problems? – Delmonte Sep 10 '12 at 19:05
The OS which you used will not be primarily problem but the software. If you just used tar for the the backup, it will likely even be possible to find a working Windows tool which can read the tapes, but many backup programs use their own archive format and you need a software which can read this format. – Sven Sep 10 '12 at 20:53
  • Obviously, you'll need an LTO-3 capable tape drive.
  • Also, you will need a controller which can talk to this drive. What type of controller is dependent on the drive, it can be some sort of SCSI (parallel or SAS) or Fibre Channel.
  • Which operating system and software you use is dependent on how these tapes were written. You need an operating system that can run the software that can read the tapes.
  • Finally, you need the appropriate software.
share|improve this answer

You will need:

  1. A drive capable of reading the tapes
  2. A away to connect that drive (Usually a SCSI card. A free (PCIe) slot in the PC for that card).
  3. The software used to make the backups and the password used to encrypt the backups. (I am not sure if you can use different software if the backups are encrypted. And any sane backup would be encrypted).
  4. Enough space to write the recovered data to. (This should be easy).
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.