August 2011 Newsletter – Irene


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This is a special edition of our newsletter due to Hurricane Irene, and our regular monthly newsletter will be delivered next week.


Last week we had a rare earthquake in the mid Atlantic region of United States, and this weekend we are bracing for Hurricane Irene to hit up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States.  This is a huge hurricane that will bring massive flooding and wind damage to a very wide area, even if you are not in the direct path of the hurricane. 

“Are you prepared?”

The first question you have to ask yourself is “Do I have a full backup in case my machine is destroyed or damaged?”.  This is probably the number one issue that I see in our industry today.  People don’t have good backups that they can rely on.  For those regular readers of our newsletter, you know I am always stressing that you need to test your recovery, and that still holds out.  If you are unsure of your backups, if you are unsure you can put the pieces of your backups back together again, if you don’t know where your tapes are, or if you just want to insure you have a good backup we will go over some steps below.  You can always call iTech Solutions to help you get your machine restored, but if you don’t have a backup tape, there isn’t anything we are going to be able to do to restore your data.

Now, once you have your backup, please take the backup tape off-site.   This is the second most important step to perform.  Most likely if your machine is destroyed and the tape is inside the tape drive (Don’t laugh I see this all the time), or the tape is on top of the computer, that most likely will also be destroyed.  So, move that tape to an other location !

Below are the simplest steps for performing a full system backup.  Now, if you are using BRMS or have your own save strategy that is fine.  I am just providing the most simplest backup procedures so you can get a full system backup.

Step 1: Determine how many tapes you will require for your backup and initialize them.  If you don’t know, initialize 3 tapes which should be ample for the backup. Load the first tape into the drive and use the Command:

Change the TAPxx to the name of your tape drive. Once the first tape is done, remove the tape from the drive (label it) and put the next tape in and run the command changing the tape name in the NEWVOL parameter to FULL02.  Then repeat same steps for the 3rd tape.  Now, put the first tape back into the drive.  If you know you only need one tape, then you only need to initialize one tape.

Step 2: Locate your Console (This will be in your controlling subsystem) and sign-on to this with QSECOFR userid or a profile with equivalent authority.

Step 3: We are now going to bring the machine into a restricted state, which means it will end all jobs on the system and knock all users off. From the Console, enter the command GO SAVE and press enter. Select option 21 by entering a 21 on the command line and pressing enter (Yes, you won’t be able to see the option unless you scroll down, but it is there). The next screen will be an informational screen telling you what this option does. Read the screen, and then press Enter and go to Step 4.
If  you weren’t on the console, it will tell you about transferring your job to the controlling subsystem. If that is the case you need to either transfer your job to the controlling subsystem with the TRFJOB command, or go find the real console.

Step 4: We are ready to do the save, and we need to change the parameters. Please make sure under Devices you have the same name of the tape drive that you initialized the tapes in Step 1 above. For “Prompt for commands” make that an “N”.  For “Check for active files” make that an “N”.  For “Message queue delivery” make that “*NOTIFY”.  For “Start time” make that “*CURRENT”.  For “Vary off network servers” make that “*ALL”.  For “Unmount file systems” make that a “Y”.  You will want to hit page down to see the next screen of options.  For “Print system information” make that an “N”, and for “Use system Reply list” make than an “N”.  Depending on if you want to backup spool files, enter “*ALL” to back them up, or “*NONE” to not back them up.  I highly recommend backing up spool files, and you should make this “*ALL”.

Now, hit enter and the backup will start. If you are on 6.1 or 7.1 there will be a 10 minute delay, if you are on V5R4 you will hear the tape start to move.  Your backup time is dependent on the number of objects on your machine, and their size.  You will see informational messages at the bottom of the console telling you the status.  it will tell you if you need to mount a second tape, or if you see “Waiting for message on QSYSOPR” at the bottom of the screen hit a System Request key and option 6 to read the messages and reply.

Step 5: When the backup completes take the tapes which you used and prepare them to be MOVED off site.

Step 6: The system will come back up by automatically running your system startup program at the end of the backup.  At this point, it might be wise to power the machine down if there is no need for usage and wait until after the storm has passed and the power is back to normal before powering it back up.

If you need assistance next week with a recovery just contact Pete and we can schedule one of our System Engineers to come out and help you.  Don’t forget, we also have machines we can loan you if you happen to lose yours due to flooding, electrical issues, or other damage.

Best of luck, and we hope you and your family stays safe in the coming days.

iTech Solutions can help you improve performance, upgrade i5/OS, perform security audits, implement a High Availability solution, Health Checks, Systems Management, Remote Administration,  PTF management, Blade installations, iSCSI Configurations, Backup/Recovery, upgrade an existing machine, or upgrade to a new machine.  If you are thinking of LPAR or HMC, then think iTech Solutions.  We have the skills to help you get the most out of your System i.

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