• Alexios
  • amanda
  • hacks
  • postscript

Amanda is a slightly unusual but outstanding network backup system. Until 2004, I used it to back up the entire BedroomLAN on 8mm, 112m tapes (same as 8mm videotapes, only made from better quality materials ― I hope) on an Exabyte EXB-8500C drive. The tapes are dead cheap these days, and each held 5 gigs (uncompressed). Lovely, and comparable to the capacity of hard disks at the time. Amanda even prints its own labels or inlays for your cartridges, tapes, CD-Rs et cetera!

A sample 8mm tape label

A sample 8mm tape label as printed by AMANDA. The actual tape inlay is smaller than a sheet of A4. The sheet has folding instructions to produce a sturdy inlay without cutting. The end product displays useful information through the tape's transparent case.

This is a heavily modified version of the 8mm tape label template shipped with Amanda. There are quite a few new things here.

  • Better æsthetics. Helvetica makes it a bit lighter on the eye, and a few extra shades of grey make it look even better. There are also bolder lines.

  • More information and better arranged (for my own setup, anyway). The label section shows the tape label (duh), Amanda version and date in full. There's a square section for marks, logos, stickers et cetera. The rear (top) section shows whatever Amanda wants us to show. Usually this is the total backup size, percentage of tape used, overall compression ratio and the number of filesystems on tape. The filesystem table shows tape file numbers (in case you want to seek them manually with mt), hosts, filesystems, dump size in megabytes, compression ratio and dump level. Around 27 partitions fit on each column of each page.

  • Re-arranged column format. On the original Amanda labels, partition listings run all the way down to the bottom of the sheet, then go to the right column. I've reversed this behaviour. This template has three two-column pages, and both columns of each page are completed before partition lists overflow to the next page. This way, more partitions are normally visible without opening the tape case.

  • No scissors needed. I can't be bothered with them. It gets tedious. You can print the template out on A4 paper and fold it according to the included instructions. On the BedroomLAN HP LaserJet 4, it works lovely (your mileage may vary though, especially with different printers).

The template was basically modified by hand. Did I mention I like Postscript? The folding diagram was drawn in xfig, then stuck inside the Postscript file as Encapsulated Postscript, hand-resized and hand-positioned (I make it sound so difficult!).

You can download the template here. It's completely unsupported, but if you find it useful, I'd love an email (send it to alexios (at) bedroomlan (dot) org)!

8mm Tape Label Template
Download the template in Postscript format, ready for AMANDA use.