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What was this IBM "thing" used for?

billdeg

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http://www.vintagecomputer.net/IBM/IBM_Thing.JPG

thm_IBM_Thing.JPG

What is this? 2-3" tall
 

kb2syd

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Do you have a picture of the top and bottom? It is similar to the ink bottles we used for the Business System 6/40, but this isn't one of them. This looks to be twice as tall.
 

TX_Dj

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"Thus, mass storage devices are useful only in applications where large volumes of data must be accessed, and the access time is not critical." - from the image NeXT posted

This quote rings just as true today as it did back then, only the footprint which "mass storage" consumes in relation to "large volumes of data" and "access time" have changed.
 

Eudimorphodon

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This image here puts the device in the proper scale. I guess the OP said it was only about three inches tall, but it looks so much like a soda can I initially interpreted that photo posted by NeXT as being a part of a vast and amazing "Storage Cathedral".

In any case it still looks so super retro-futuristic I can't help but crave a delicious Soylent Green sandwich after seeing it. Cool.
 

Chuck(G)

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"Beer can in a pigeon coop" or "Beer can in a beehive" is what we called them. CDC also had a similar system, the big difference that CDC used hydraulic pickers, while IBM was their usual mechanical cable-and-pulley mechanical engineer's nightmare. Both had duplex arms--the function of one sometimes being to push the inoperative one out of the way...

Nice find, Bill.
 

NeXT

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This image here puts the device in the proper scale. I guess the OP said it was only about three inches tall, but it looks so much like a soda can I initially interpreted that photo posted by NeXT as being a part of a vast and amazing "Storage Cathedral".

Yeah, the first time I saw it in my workbook I also thought it was massive. Tuens out that it's jsut the photo, plus it's upside down. :)
Here's a better photo for scale:
102698446.03.01.lg.jpg

xm07.jpg


The modern version of something liek this is a tape library, or "silo" for the really big configurations where hundreds of tapes are involved.
_REDWOOD.GIF
 

g4ugm

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I don't think a tape silo is the same thing. These were often used in universitiies to store the equivalent of a users "my documents"on, and whe some one logged on their data was copied down from the cylinder onto a track on disk. Try doing that with DLT, its trylely linear in access.

Modern SAN can have storage level migration though, so SSD disks doe really fas files, slower files on SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) and the real slow stuff on SATA disk.

Again data can be migrated to faster storage when needed....
 

TX_Dj

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Well, if I'm reading this right, these modules had tape inside, so they were likely still a streaming/linear/sequential access system.

I'm just thankful to not use tape libraries anymore... the modern version of this looks a little more like this now:
fas3270-cab-right.jpg
 

rorypoole

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how did it work?

how did it work?

how did the IBM 3850 Mass Storage Unit work? how did it get access to the tape in the "cans" and are there any around still?
 

NeXT

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Any cartridges left now are ones people runnign the equipment held onto when the machines were phased out. Once all the machines were returned to IBM I'm sure there wasn't much else you could really do with them, even if they had data on them.
 

memphis

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PA USA
Nice one Bill.
There's no end to the mysteries of bygone computers.
I never saw this before either.
Oh and I was shocked by the scale perception: The first photo makes the system look massively room sized
then the photo with the child changes everything.
 

paul

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Mar 18, 2004
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New Zealand
Has anyone figured out how the 3" x 770" tape was wound and read from the cartridge? I would guess it would need roughly 150 turns. Perhaps it worked like an 8-track, in an endless fashion - but I can't see how you would get a 3" wide tape to curve over the top?

After seeing the first photo that little boy now looks huge.
 
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