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How do I automate a full system backup on my i5 server?

Backup and recovery expert Ken Graap explains how to automate a full system backup on the i5 server.

How can I automate a full system backup on my i5 server?

The backup process on an i5 server can run for a long time. Especially if your have a medium to large server environment with lots of data. Most operators and system administrators don't want to hang around while a system backup runs for 10 hours!

Therefore, automating this process is high on the list of priorities for just about every systems administrator. IBM has provided basic save processes within OS/400 via the SAVE menu. This menu can be accessed with the command GO SAVE.

If you page down through this menu, you will find a section title "Save System and User Data." Option 21 "Entire System" can be used to completely backup your i5 server. When Option 21 is executed the following things happen:

End all subsystems
Save the Licensed Internal Code
Save the operating system
Save the security data
Save the device configuration objects
Save all user libraries (including libraries for licensed programs)
Save all documents and folders
Save all distribution and mail objects
Save all directories
Start the controlling subsystem

This process will use the defaults defined via Option 20 "Define save system and user data defaults". All of these steps will execute from an interactive job running at the system console.

The advantage to running an Option 21 process is that everything on your system (except for the contents of job queues, output queues, or data queues) will be completely saved.

The major disadvantage is that the system will remain unavailable to users during the entire backup process.

If further automation is required, IBM (and of course it is) and several third-party vendors have created very comprehensive program products for backing up and restoring an i5 server.

These products utilize system functionality such as journaling, Save_While_Active and a secured interactive console environment that allows you to develop the completely automated backup process you probably want to have on your midsize to large i5 server.

I personally use the IBM BRMS (Backup Recovery Management System) product to automate our backup process. Help Systems has a product, as well.

You may want to consider what I have done to insure a complete backup of your i5 system.

I run SAVSYS only once a month along with a full IPL of the system in order to apply *DELAYED PTF's. The monthly SAVE process is an "attended" event. However, the operator who runs it is usually onsite for about two hours only as the system IPL's, and the SAVSYS command runs. If there are any issues, someone is there to attend to them immediately. When the SAVSYS command finishes and our SAVE_WHILE_ACTIVE backups reach their synchronization point, the operator can leave when he has determined that our users have access to the applications. The bakups continue to run throughout the night unattended. We have a relatively large system, so the entire BU process can take up to 10 hours. If a problem does occur during this phase of the process, someone is contacted via pager so they can connect from home to resolve the issue.

Between full system saves, I run automated BRMS application backups along with the SAVSECDTA and SAVCFG commands.

I've found this strategy to work very well for me.

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