On my larger AS/400 730 (8 processors) using an external 3590-B11 tape drive, I'm able to backup about 165,000 IFS objects only an hour... Really not that big of a difference!
The IFS backup performance isn't tied to how fast your tape drive is. It may be a little more dependent on how fast your system is. However, mostly it is dependent on how many objects there are to save. There is a certain amount of processing overhead involved in getting each IFS object ready to be saved to a tape device. In the case of an IFS backup this is magnified even more because there are usually "many small" objects as opposed to "fewer large" objects.
If you were able to run your IFS save in a "restricted state" you might see some improvement due to the fact that the system doesn't have to worry about object locking. Short of that, there isn't a lot more that can currently be done to speed up a save of the IFS file system.
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