Q
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What's the most cost effective way to cut the backup time in half?

We currently backup over 100GB per night on a 3590-B11 magstar tape drive. This process takes just under five hours....

What would be the most cost effective way of cutting this time in half? I have looked at adding another tape drive and splitting several of my largest libraries from my main backup. I have also looked at the replacing our 3590-B11 with a 3590-E11.

Multiple tape drives and/or upgrading to a faster tape drive will help you cut time from your backup, but these options can also be very expensive.

OS/400 does provide a feature called Save_While_Active and I'd recommend using Save_While_Active to cut the time your system is unavailable to your users while you run a backup.

I would also recommend, from a usability point of view, that you quiesce the system for a few minutes in order to obtain a synchronization point. It will still take several hours to copy data to tape, but the system may be used while the backup is running.

On my system using SWA results in the application being unavailable to my users for only about 15 minutes whenever I run a backup.

The Save_While_Active (SWA) feature of OS/400 could be just what you are looking for and the cost of implementation would be $0.00! That's a pretty good price.

Some things to consider when using SWA...

1. SWA is a wonderful tool. It is a bit complicated to configure but well worth the trouble.

2. You could configure your backup process to eliminate ALL downtime, but in my opinion. It isn't worth the effort.

3. Quiesce your system for a short time instead, in order to obtain a synchronization point.

4. In the event of a recovery, you will be able to recover data to the time of this synchronization point.

5. You can NOT use SWA for SAVSYS. To execute a SAVSYS command still requires that the system be in a restrictive state.

6. As with any backup, run it during a time of light system use.

7. Because of the extra processing required for SWA processing your backup will run longer, but users can use the system while it is running.

8. Full implementation details can be found in the OS/400 Backup and Recovery Manual, SC41-5304.

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This was last published in May 2002

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