I heard it is possible to "telnet to the hard disk" on VAX systems where the HD is connected with a DSSI interface. What commands are available once one establishes a connection to the disk?

  • I don't think DSSI works quite like that. I read that as logging directly onto the computer that the disk is on, not that you log on remotely in order to connect the disk. I'm not sure though, as I've never used the interface.
    – wizzwizz4
    Feb 12, 2017 at 20:27
  • 2
    I think you are correct, as I understand It, it is more correctly described as "logging in to the drive", from the local system.
    – 0xF2
    Feb 18, 2017 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


The RF Series Integrated Storage Element User Guide is available as PDF e.g. here.

On page 3-10 (p.88 in the PDF), it lists the commands to "telnet" (not really) to the ISE (here, to run the PARAM program):


On page 2-32 (p.72 in the PDF), there's a table of available programs:

  • PARAMS: A SYSGEN-like parameter editor and interactive query utility used to view ISE and DSSI bus status.
  • HISTRY: An abbreviated version of a portion of PARAMS. HISTRY is used by host-level software such as MDM.

  • DIRECT: A directory program, output only, that lists the available diagnostic and utility programs.

  • PRFMON: An abbreviated version of a portion of PARAMS. PRFMON can be used by host-level software such as the VAX performance analyzer (VPA).

  • DRVEXR: A comprehensive drive exerciser.

  • DRVTST: A quick pass/fail test of the drive.

  • VERIFY: A complete read check of the disk and verification of the DSDF1 on- disk structure.

  • ERASE: A data ``scrubber'' utility that writes alternating patterns to each LBN, including the second sector of the RCT and the previous locations of the bad blocks, and then verifies that the scrubbing process succeeded.

  • DKUTIL: An interactive block display and replace utility. Typically used to confirm ERASE scrubbing.

Page 2-18 (p.58 in the PDF) contains an example list of running threads (processes) in the ISE. The CPU apparently was an 680x0.

  • This looks a lot like smartctl before SMART existed.
    – RonJohn
    Jul 20, 2023 at 16:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .