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Tips for shrinking your backup/recovery windows

Backup and recovery guru Deb Saugen answers users questions on the best way to shrink their backup/recovery windows.

New iSeries hardware and tape technology in combination with software enhancements in BRMS using Concurrent and Parallel Saves, Save-while-active and Online Lotus Server Backups are resulting in huge reductions to backup/recovery windows. Recently Debbie Saugen, technical owner of iSeries 400 and AS/400 backup and recovery, IBM's Business Continuity and Recovery Services, joined for a webcast on Honey, I shrunk my backup/recovery windows. A few people had questions for Deb following the broadcast; below are their responses.

Click here to Download Deb's slides.

Can I run the SAVIFS using parallel save methodology? Due to the volume of links resident in the IFS, it is taking two and a half hours to complete.

Debbie Saugen: You would need to split up the saves of your Integrated File System (IFS) data into separate save jobs saving to multiple tape drives to save concurrently. The parallel save support that is supported on libraries does not currently support IFS data.

What is "IBM replication?" Which iSeries started using the fibre channel?

Debbie Saugen: IBM's Rapid Recovery Solution for Business Recovery using a hotsite is implemented using an IBM Business Partner's High Availability replication software for the iSeries.

Fibre channel tape drive support became available on the 270 and 8xx models (iSeries) starting with V5R1.

Can you use 358X-359X on a 9406-170 system?

Debbie Saugen: Yes, you can connect either a 358x (LTO) or 3590-tape drive to a model 170 via the 2729 IOP. You would not be able to use the fibre channel version of these tape drives on the 170.

What specifically constitutes a "large" library in determining whether or not it should be saved in a parallel save operation via BRMS?

Debbie Saugen: Starting with V5R1 when using BRMS to save a list of libraries with parallel save, BRMS determines if it is best to save the library using the parallel save support or to just save the library by performing a serial save of the library. To determine whether a library should be saved with the parallel save support, a variety of factors are used. These factors include the tape drive speed, number of objects and the size of the objects. The library is a candidate for a parallel save if the save of the library takes longer than five minutes and if the average size of the objects in the library is 256K or greater. If you have a library that is currently taking 10 to 15 minutes to save, then it is probably a good candidate for a parallel save with BRMS.

Is there any plan to introduce sequence numbers to IFS saves in future releases?

Debbie Saugen: Since it would take a significant amount of processing and introduce a performance impact there are no plans to introduce sequence numbers to IFS saves. However, if you use BRMS and backup the object level detail you can easily restore individual IFS directories.

Using fibre attached drives, can the 2765 support multiple drives/paths at V5R2 like the 5704? Also, how do we support multi drives on the 5704 with only one set of fiber ports?

Debbie Saugen: With V5R2 both the 2765 and the 5704 fibre channel tape controllers support multiple drives and paths using one of the supported SAN switches.

How many 3590E drives can be handled by a single 2765 card without any performance degrades?

Debbie Saugen: The 3590E fibre tape drive can save up to 14 MBs per second. With 3:1 compaction the save rate increases to 42 MBs per second. The 2765 can support up to 100 MBs per second. So depending on what save rate you are getting with your 3590E fibre tape drives, you could attach 2 to 3 3590E tape drives using one 2765 card to run concurrently.

Will it help recovery time by creating SAVSYS on DVD? Can we IPL SCSI or fiber attached tape drive?

Debbie Saugen: Creating your SAVSYS on DVD will probably not help your recovery time, but it may make recovery a little easier if you are using a SCSI tape drive not attached to the first system bus or a fibre attached tape drive. If you are using a SCSI attached tape drive on the first system bus you can perform an alternate IPL from tape for the recovery. However, if your SCSI tape drive is not attached to the first system bus or if you are using a fibre attached tape drive, if is necessary to define an alternate installation device using Dedicated Service Tools (DST). This also requires that the first distribution install CD media be used along with the SAVSYS tape to perform a system recovery. The alternative to defining an alternate installation device is to save your SAVSYS to DVD. Performing the SAVSYS to DVD may also be quite a bit slower than performing the SAVSYS to any of the faster tape drives.

Is there a fully graphical BRMS planned in any next release? The 5250 BRMS is not very comfortable.

Debbie Saugen: The BRMS graphical user interface (GUI) was introduced at V5R1 and has been significantly enhanced at V5R2 and V5R3. The graphical user interface, also referred to as BRMS iSeries Navigator client (BRMS client), is an optional plug-in to iSeries Navigator. To learn more about the BRMS GUI there are student guides available which walk you through the available functions. You can download the guides here.

How can I structure my BRMS Control group to handle *ALLUSR while using Save while Active?

Debbie Saugen: To use Save-while-active with an *ALLUSR save, specify *ALLUSR in your BRMS control group and type *SYNCLIB in the Save-while-active field. You should also specify the MONSWABRM (Monitor Save-while-active) through an *EXIT operation preceding the control group entry in your backup control group. The MONSWABRM command is used to indicate when the Save-while-active synchronization checkpoint has been reached.

Where can I find sample BRMS control groups for Save while active?

Debbie Saugen: You can find sample BRMS control groups using Save-while-active in the Backup Recovery and Media Services for OS/400 Redbook.

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