What Do I Need To Do Full System FlashCopy Backups?

Full System FlashCopy (FSFC) Toolkit is a tool developed by IBM to allow you to capture full backups of your entire system with little to no downtime. It is becoming very popular for shops that are running 24/7, where any downtime to the system becomes very costly. You may be considering using this option for backups on your system, but you have no idea what you need to get to implement it.

Listed here are the key items you need to have:

  • Be on at least IBM i 7.2.
  • Have available CPU, memory, and disk resources for two LPARs:
    • A “Controlling” LPAR where the toolkit begins running.
      • Can be a Dev/UAT partition. Any partition you don’t plan to use Full System FlashCopy with.
      • If you need to create one, you will need the following resources:
        • 05 CPU
        • 6 GB RAM
        • 400 GB of storage
        • Physical adapters for Ethernet, Disk, and Tape or virtualized through Virtual I/O Server.
      • A target LPAR for the FlashCopy disks to attach to.
        • Hardware requirements:
          • 05 CPU
          • 8 GB RAM
          • Target disks can be thin provisioned. Storage used increases the longer the FlashCopy lasts as bits get copied over from the Source. Expect to need around 10% of the size of the source disks.
          • Physical adapters for Ethernet, Disk, and Tape or virtualized through Virtual I/O Server.
        • You may have to do some shuffling to get the necessary CPU and memory resources. If you need to buy an additional IBM i license, it can greatly affect the price of implementation.
        • Licenses for the following licensed programs (only on the Controlling LPAR):
          • License for PowerHA Standard or Enterprise.
          • License for HA Switchable Resources
        • A Hardware Management Console (HMC). Can be physical or virtual.
        • A Storwize, FlashSystem, or DS8000 SAN that is licensed for FlashCopy.
        • SAN switches for zoning disks and tape.

If you are coming from a single partition system, the requirements for FSFC are very steep. In many situations, it can be costly to implement, but you have to consider the cost of bringing down the system for backups. Run the numbers to see if the cost of downtime is greater than the cost to implement.

Also, consider your current backup strategy and what you’re able to capture while the system is up. I will wrap this up with a question:  If your production system becomes compromised, do you want your last save to contain EVERYTHING or only parts of what you need?

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2 thoughts on “What Do I Need To Do Full System FlashCopy Backups?”

  1. Was this a presentation for NAViGATE? Thanks for the summary look at what is needed. Very timely for us as we really need to start reducing downtime as we grow.

    1. Steven McIver

      You’re welcome! Gave a session on this at our recent virtual conference, iAdmin. Please reach out to us if you would like to kickoff a discussion.

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