Everyone knows you need to terminate a SCSI chain, and most people think they know what a SCSI terminator looks like, but there's a wrinkle with IBM's LTO tape drives that has apparently fooled a lot of people.

The problem is that IBM provides a device for its LTO drives called a 'wrap tool' that can be used to test the drive connections. The reason this is a problem is that the wrap tool looks just like a SCSI terminator, despite being wired differently. Users who attempt to hook up their LTO drive with the wrap tool on the end of the chain will find that the system can't find the drive.

The cure, according to IBM, is to remove the wrap tool and replace it with the terminator (admitting what you did to your co-workers is optional). Because the only external difference is the part numbers, it pays to check the part number when terminating an IBM LTO drive. IBM provides a list of part numbers under the heading

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'terminator verification'.

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in July 2003

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