AIPS HELP file for BAKTP in 31DEC22
As of Tue Nov 28 23:10:40 2023
BAKTP: Task to write maps or uv data with host backup format
DOALL -1.0 1.0 1 (T) do all, -1 (F) do 1st.
INNAME Image name(name).
INCLASS Image name(class).
INSEQ 0.0 9999.0 Image name(seq. #).
INDISK 0.0 9.0 Disk drive #. 0 => any
INTYPE File type. Blank => any
OUTTAPE 0.0 2.0 Tape drive #. 0 => 1
OPCODE 'BACK' or ' '; 'INIT' tape.
Use: BAKTP writes one or more map and/or uv data files and
their extensions onto magtape using the local host
machine-dependent backup format (BACKUP on VMS, tar on
Unix). The 1st image or all images that match the input
parameters can be written. The tape is left following the
last file written. BAKTP tapes are reloaded with task
BAKLD. NOTE: execution of 'INIT' option of BAKTP is
mandatory before first use of a tape with the 'BACK'
DOALL......True (> 0) means do all files matching the input
parameters, false (<= 0) means do the 1st match
INNAME.....The input image name (name). Standard defaults.
INCLASS....The input image name (class). Standard defaults.
INSEQ......The input image name (seq. #). 0 => any if DOALL
is true, 0 => highest if DOALL is false.
INDISK.....The input disk unit #. 0=> search all disks in
order for file meeting the other criteria.
INTYPE.....The input data type (MA or UV or ' ' for either)
OUTTAPE....The output tape unit #. 0=> 1.
OPCODE.....'BACK' or ' ' does the backup operation.
'INIT' initializes a tape for BAKTP operation.
Explanation notes for BAKTP: (DCW, 21Jul,03Aug,20Nov86)
1. BAKTP adopts a conservative stance with regard to DOEOT: it
ALWAYS searches for the End-Of-Information (double-EOF) BEFORE
writing a new file to tape. This policy avoids inadvertent
overwriting (destroying) of previously backed-up data. It does
have the effect of requiring that tapes be initialized to have
a well-defined EOI before first use, and therefore the 'INIT'
opcode is provided to perform this function. The 'INIT'
operation MUST be done as the first operation on any new BAKTP
tape. It overwrites (destroys) any information previously
existing on the tape. Because of the 'INIT' operation and
DOEOT=TRUE action, it is entirely feasible and appropriate to
execute BAKTP more than once, even on different occasions, to
accumulate multiple data files on a BAKTP tape.
2. A BAKTP saveset contains ALL of the file objects, data plus
extensions, which are associated with an AIPS catalog slot.
That is, all plot files, all slice files, all clean-component
files, etc., associated with a map or visibility file, or
anything else that is a part of a slot, will be written as a
group to the tape. The only condition is that the files must
have physical names which are computable by the AIPS library
routine ZPHFIL, i.e. they must have a two-letter 'file type'
3. BAKTP writes tape using very long blocks (30720 bytes),
which have a blocking efficiency of 94 percent at 6250bpi. Compared to
the old "short-block" FITS format, efficiency is about 50 percent
better (only 2/3rd as much tape used per unit data moved) and
more than 10x fewer tape operations are done per unit data
moved (and per unit CPU-time used).
4. Note that the tar tapes written by BAKTP on Unix systems are
MACHINE-DEPENDENT even though the tar format itself, which
BAKTP uses, is inherently machine-independent. E.g., a tar
written by the Convex C-1 can be read by BAKLD executing on a
VAX under Unix, but the floating and integer data formats will
be incompatible, so that headers and data probably cannot be
usefully transferred between these two architectures with
BAKTP/BAKLD (use FITTP/IMLOD instead). It might be true that
data structures for non-byte-flipped IEEE-floating-point
machines would be compatible (e.g., all 68000s are equivalent,
and the Alliant acts like a 68000), but this must always be
tested, as compiler differences may make data structures
different even though underlying hardware architectures are
A question for BAKTP users:
Should BAKTP offer an "AUTOZAP" adverb? The idea would be that
BAKTP would delete slots as soon as it is confident that their
data are safely on tape. Users are invited to express their
opinion in the form of a 'gripe'.
Weaknesses, Deficiencies, Known Bugs, etc.:
1. Error return checking is minimal in the current version of
BAKTP. That is, in many places the code currently assumes that
underlying subsystems have worked correctly. A wide variety of
pathological conditions (e.g. total exhaustion of disk space,
or total inability to create a new subprocess) may not be
properly handled in the current code.
1.5 Current BAKTP does not prevent program AIPS or other AIPS
tasks from accessing, or even modifying, the files currently
being written to tape. Until this weakness is corrected users
should avoid tampering with the files BAKTP is writing. Current
BAKTP emits a harmless message about the data file being closed
which is related to this problem.
2. The present code under VMS gives some semblance of working
even when the tape drive has not yet been MOUNTed by AIPS. This
appears to be a deficiency of VMS---the VMS ZOPEN Z-routine
gives an "OK" return on unmounted tapes.
3. VMS BAKTP gives a BACKUP warning message about an access
conflict because the main program has the MA/UV data file open
during execution. This message is harmless and will be
4. The present version of BAKTP on the Convex appears to be
slow. Partly this is that it IS a bit slow, and partly it is an
illusion, and partly it is due to the fact that, unlike BACKUP
on VMS, Unix 'tar' does not execute with any special
privilege---rather, it contends for the CPU with everybody
else. Probably the performance can be upgraded eventually by
replacing 'tar' and 'dd' with a custom tape writing module. The
slowness 'illusion' is due to the fact that the high tape
blocking efficiency means that BAKTP does fewer tape operations
and moves less tape per unit data than does FITTP. BAKTP will
perform better whenever there is significant timesharing
loading on the Convex if it runs under AIPS1 or AIPS2, which
give their tasks 'elevated priority'.
6. The present Unix BAKTP tape format makes no provision for
error recovery. VMS BACKUP does error recovery by periodically
writing an extra block which conveys a longitudinal parity
check over a group of blocks. The default group size is 10
(i.e., the blocking efficiency of VMS BAKTP is really only
about 90*94 percent). In addition, VMS BACKUP includes a CRC (Cyclic
Redundancy Check) code in each block to strengthen the error
detection. These features permit VMS BACKUP to recover from a
wide variety of tape errors, and this extra security for
valuable data files is well worth the 10 percent efficiency cost. The
Unix BAKTP, which currently simply uses 'tar' and 'dd' to write
tape, has no special tape error detection/correction capability
at all, and it would be a good thing to add these features to a
future version of Unix BAKTP. Note that the 6250 GCR (Group
Coded Recording) physical format has a rather strong (random
noise) error detection/correction capability on its own, and so
probably Unix BAKTP tapes are more secure when recorded at
6250bpi than at 1600bpi.
Technical details of VMS and Unix implementations (DCW,21Nov86):
This discussion is provided mainly to satisfy the curiosity of
technically-knowledgeable users, and perhaps to help them
report misbehavior of the programs in a more meaningful way. It
is not intended that users, or programmers, should build other
programs, or should manipulate BAKTP tapes, based on assuming
the completeness or invariance of this description of the
format of BAKTP tapes. DCW reserves the right to modify the
format without warning, especially for the Unix implementation.
Users can assume one thing: future versions of BAKLD will still
read, if at all possible, any tapes currently produced by BAKTP
on their architecture/OS combination.
1. INIT operation: For VMS the result is an ANSI labelled tape
with VSN=AIPBAK (i.e., all VMS BAKTP tapes have this label) and
a dummy saveset (named BAKINI.BCK) with the tape positioned
near the logical EOI; for Unix the result is currently simply a
double-EOF at BOT and the tape is positioned at BOT.
2. BACK operation: For VMS the result is a BACKUP saveset, and
BACKUP automatically searches for EOI before writing it. All of
the savesets written by BAKTP have the same name (BAKAIP.BCK),
so that the tape can only be positioned by file ordinal, and
all are written with BLOCK=30720 and with the default
GROUP-SIZE (10 blocks). For Unix the result is a blocked 'tar'
tape---in the present implementation the output of tar, with a
block size of 512 bytes, is piped through 'dd' to produce a
blocking factor of 60 (30720 bytes/block). The Unix blocked tar
'savesets' are delimited by single tapemarks; the Unix BAKTP
calls library routine FNDEOT to position the tape at EOI
(between the final double-EOT) before doing any writing. Under
both VMS and Unix the tape is left positioned 'in the
neighborhood' of EOI at completion of BAKTP; it is best not to
inquire too closely into exactly where the tape is and exactly
how these OS utilities (BACKUP and 'dd') function if you want
to preserve your sanity.
3. Saveset contents: the logical contents of an entire slot are
written by a wild-card operation. Thus, neither BAKTP nor BAKLD
knows anything about AIPS file types or extensions; neither
program distinguishes between MA and UV files in any way. The
file names on tape are exactly the physical names of the disk
files in the slot on the BAKTP host system. An extra file is
included in the saveset; its name is 'BAKAIP.TXT' and its
purpose is to convey a plain-text statement of the AIPS user
number, AIPS data version, the BAKTP host system name,
BAKTP-execution date, and the date and AIPS
type/name/class/sequence of the saveset. This information
facilitates operation of BAKLD, because BAKLD cannot predict
the physical file names in any saveset, but can assume that all
savesets contain a file called 'BAKAIP.TXT', whose text format
is invariant. NOTE: all statements made above in this paragraph
are true for both the Unix and VMS implementations of
BAKTP/BAKLD. A minor, and irrelevant, logical difference in the
implementations is that Unix BAKTP tapes give only the physical
names of the files, whereas VMS BAKTP tapes also include the
full directory path on the host system (this path is ignored by