IBM's New Backup and Recovery Enhancements Include Virtual Tape and Encryption!

High Availability / Disaster Recovery
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i5/OS V5R4 and IBM i 6.1 now provide many great backup and recovery enhancements to make your job easier.


There are many new and exciting backup and recovery enhancements with i5/OS V5R4 and IBM i 6.1. One of the key highlights for V5R4 is the capability of saving and restoring using Integrated Virtual Tape. i5/OS Virtual Tape support is unique to i5/OS. It makes use of the disk on the system and does not require a separate hardware device as with other Virtual Tape Library support. i5/OS Virtual Tape support offers a save and restore alternative to the current i5/OS save file support. Software encryption for backups using Backup Recovery and Media Services (BRMS) is a key highlight for IBM i 6.1. Moving backup media offsite for safekeeping incurs the risk of losing media during transport, making encryption of sensitive data an essential safeguard.


In this article, I will discuss these key enhancements along with many other backup and recovery enhancements for i5/OS V5R4 and IBM i 6.1.


i5/OS V5R4 Backup and Recovery Enhancements

Integrated Virtual Tape Support


Integrated Virtual Tape support with V5R4 is a brand new technology that is entirely unique to i5/OS. It's completely integrated into the operating system and makes use of the disk on the system. This new technology is built upon the image catalog support provided under V5R3 for optical "virtual devices." The virtual tape environment behaves as if there were real tape drives with physical tape media. It is a simulated tape environment consisting of the following:


Ÿ  Virtual tape drives (up to 35)

Ÿ  Virtual tape media (256 maximum per image catalog)

Ÿ  One or more image catalogs to hold virtual tapes (known as image catalog entries)


Virtual tape is used just like you use real physical tape media. The save and restore commands along with the Display Tape (DSPTAP) and Check Tape (CHKTAP) commands behave in the same manner with virtual tape as with physical tape. Because virtual tape resides on your system, you still need to duplicate your virtual tape saves to physical tape media for disaster recovery.

There are some key advantages with using virtual tape:


Ÿ  May be faster than saving to physical tape--Similar performance as save files; best performance in separate ASP

Ÿ  Eliminates save file restrictions--One library per save file; SAVSYS not supported on save file; Parallel saves not supported on save file; One TB size limitation on save file

Ÿ  Eliminates tape/media error limitations--Saves won't end due to tape device or media errors; Once Save-while-active checkpoint reached, can't restart due to tape device or media errors

Ÿ  Duplication to physical media--When tape devices available; At your convenience

Ÿ  Onsite and offsite storage--Keep virtual volumes on system as needed; Keep duplicated volumes on site


If you are only looking for a performance advantage, you will probably not see a performance improvement if compared to saving directly to TS1120/TS1130 or LTO3/LTO4 tape technology. Along with the advantages of virtual tape, there are also some key items to take into consideration when deciding if virtual tape will be a good solution in your environment. The main consideration will be the amount of additional disk required to perform saves to virtual tape. For example, if you want to save 500 GB of data, you will need another 500 GB of additional disk plus about 3 percent more for the tape headers to perform the save to virtual tape. Here are some additional considerations to consider:


Ÿ  Disaster recovery--No install from SAVSYS virtual media; D-IPL install from physical media only 

Ÿ  Data compaction not supported

Ÿ  Data compression supported but very low compression; Significant impact on performance


It's always a good idea to carefully test prior to implementing a virtual tape solution. 


Backup and Recovery of Spooled Files


i5/OS V5R4 now makes it possible to back up and recover your spooled files using native save and restore commands or menu options. The best part of this new function is that in addition to saving the spooled file data, the following spooled file identity and attributes are preserved: 


Ÿ  Spooled File Name

Ÿ  Spooled File Number

Ÿ  Creation Date/Time

Ÿ  Fully Qualified Job Name

Ÿ  Job System Name


It's very easy to save all of your spooled files if you use the Go Save menu options. The Save menu options include Option 21 to Save the Entire System, Option 22 to Save System Data only, and Option 23 to Save All User Data. Simply change the Spooled file data parameter to *ALL to save the spooled file data for the output queues that are saved. 


If you use the SAVLIB (Save Library) or SAVOBJ (Save Object) commands, simply specify SPLFDTA(*ALL). For each output queue that is saved, all available spooled file data is saved. 


If you use Backup Recovery and Media Services (BRMS) to save spooled file data and you upgrade to V5R4, BRMS will automatically use the new native save function to save spooled files. This will provide you with a performance benefit over the previous method BRMS used to save spooled file data.


When restoring your spooled files using the Save menu options, the Spooled file data parameter uses the default of *NEW. If you do not wish to restore your saved spooled files, simply change the Spooled file data parameter to *NONE. Likewise, on the Restore Library (RSTLIB) and Restore Object (RSTOBJ) commands, the Spooled file data parameter has the default of *NEW.

To ensure a complete backup and recovery strategy, consider using the new parameters to save spooled file data with V5R4.   


Save System Information in a Non-Restricted State


The new Save System Information (SAVSYSINF) command will perform a cumulative save of a subset of system data and objects saved by the Save System (SAVSYS) command without requiring the system to be in a restricted state. 


The SAVSYSINF command is not to be considered a replacement for the SAVSYS command and is not to be used for system upgrades or migrations.


After a base SAVSYS is performed, the SAVSYSINF command saves the following:


Ÿ  System objects such as job descriptions, job queues, subsystem descriptions, and changed commands

Ÿ  System reply lists, service attributes, environment variables, system values required for system recovery, and network attributes

Ÿ  Operating system PTFs that are copied into *SERVICE. Use the Change Service Attributes (CHGSRVA) command to modify your service attributes to automatically copy the PTF save files to *SERVICE when loading PTFs.


For system recovery, the licensed internal code (LIC) and operating system will be recovered from your SAVSYS media. You then use your SAVSYSINF media and the Restore System Information (RSTSYSINF) command to restore the saved changes to system objects and PTFs.


BRMS supports this new enhancement with a new special value of *SAVSYSINF that can be specified in a BRMS backup control group.                           


Backup Recovery and Media Services Enhancements


Backup and recovery keeps getting easier as Backup, Recovery and Media Services (BRMS) delivers significant new functions in V5R4 to simplify and automate system backups and recoveries. BRMS is IBM's strategic backup and recovery product for IBM i. It's a comprehensive tool for managing the backup, archive, and recovery environment for one or more systems in a site, or across a network in which data exchange by media is required.


BRMS iSeries Navigator Enhancements


The BRMS iSeries Navigator client has also added new functions for V5R4 that help to automate backups, perform archive functions, and make backup and recovery easier. Here are some of the highlights:


Ÿ  The Archive Policies functionality allows you to create, modify, and run archive policies, manage archive lists, and view archive policy reports.

Ÿ  Container management was added and integrated with move policies.

Ÿ  Disk pool management allows you to create, update, and manage disk pools.

Ÿ  New Global Policy Properties to enable you to filter messages from a BRMS log, distribute BRMS messages electronically to an email address, check online/offline status of systems in the BRMS network, and restricted state interfaces to start.

Ÿ  Virtual devices, virtual media, and user-defined media library support were added.

Ÿ  New backup control group attributes were incorporated into Backup Policies.


BRMS Parallel Save and Restore for the Integrated File System (IFS)


Parallel save and restore capability is now supported for the Integrated File System (IFS) to enable faster saves with large IFS files. Also, BRMS Backup Control groups using parallel resources are no longer restricted to the type of backup or archive items. Backup Control groups using parallel resources and containing non-parallel save items will automatically switch from parallel to serial as needed.


BRMS Missed-Object Control Group Support


There is a new BRMS backup control group option to create a missed-object control group for locked objects in libraries encountered during a save. You can use the missed-object control group to review objects not saved, or you can run the control group at a time the objects are not locked.


BRMS Recovery of Parallel Saved Items Enhanced


The recovery of parallel saved items has been enhanced in the following ways:


Ÿ  The number of parallel devices used for a saved item is clearly displayed.

Ÿ  The beginning volume of the parallel media set is shown on the recovery report.

Ÿ  Recovery of saved items by media set specifies the volume set.

Ÿ  Concurrent recovery by media set minimizes device and volume switches and makes recovery much faster.


IBM i 6.1 Backup Recovery Enhancements

Track Save Option 21 Backup Times


One of the nice enhancements with IBM i 6.1 is in regards to performing an Option 21 save. The new data area called QSRSAV21 in the QUSRSYS library tracks the last five full-system Option 21 saves, showing each command step, the time completed, and the device used for the save. This allows you to analyze where your backup time is being spent during your full-system Option 21 saves.


Save-While-Active Synchronization


The Save-while-active function now offers a single Save-while-active checkpoint for multiple saves. The new Start Save Synchronization (STRSAVSYNC) command ensures a single, consistent checkpoint for your library and IFS saves or even a single, consistent checkpoint for multiple concurrent library saves.


Save/Restore Private Authorities with Objects


Moving data to another system has always been a three-step process. The first step is to restore the user profiles for the data, the second step is to restore the data, and the third step is to run the Restore Authority (RSTAUT) command to grant the private authorities to the objects. Now, with IBM i 6.1, you can save and restore the private authorities with the objects when moving data to another system by using the new Private authorities (PVTAUT) parameter on the save and restore commands. The new PVTAUT parameter is intended to be used only when moving objects, not for your system backups as the saves and restores are slower when saving and restoring the private authorities with the objects.


Linux File-Level Backup 


Users running Linux on IBM i 6.1 can now save and restore individual Linux files. You can still also save the entire storage spaces for your Linux partitions.


Virtual Storage Space Snapshot Saves


In regards to saving storage spaces, IBM i 6.1 provides the capability to save your iSCSI or Guest network server storage spaces while they are active by specifying *YES on the Save active (SAVACT) parameter and *NWSSTG on the Save active option (SAVACTOPT) parameter of the Save Object (SAV) command. This means you no longer have to vary off your network servers to perform the backup.


BRMS System i Navigator and Web Browser Support

The BRMS System i Navigator client has also added significant new function for IBM i 6.1. Here are some of the highlights:


Ÿ  Create and manage media policies without media policy being renamed in green-screen view.

Ÿ  DVD, CD-ROM, optical libraries, and virtual optical support have been added.

Ÿ  File-level backup of Linux or Windows guest operating systems is available.

Ÿ  Support for saving and restoring private authorities with the objects has been added.

Ÿ  Disk pool management allows you to create, update, and manage disk pools.

Ÿ  New Global Policy Properties enable the following: Restore operations from alternate media, use SNA networking, and manage restricted state interfaces.

Ÿ  Balance the media ownership to the required number of media needed by systems within the BRMS network (network systems must be running IBM i 6.1).

BRMS with IBM i 6.1 now has Web browser support via IBM Systems Director Navigator for i. You can still use BRMS via green-screen or System i Navigator also.


BRMS DVD/Optical Support 


If you perform any saves to DVD, optical libraries, or virtual optical devices, BRMS will now track and manage these saves in addition to tracking and managing your saves to tape or virtual tape media.


BRMS Missed-Object Control Group Support for IFS


With V5R4, BRMS gave us new support for a missed-object control group for objects locked in libraries during a save. With IBM i 6.1, locked objects in the IFS are now included in the missed-object control group support. You can use the missed-object control group to review objects not saved, or you can run the control group at a time the objects are not locked.


BRMS Save Journal Receivers Support


To make it easier to save journal receivers, there are two new special values to use in a BRMS control group. The *ALLCHGRCV special value will save journal receivers in user libraries that have never been saved or that have changed since they were last saved. The *ALLDTCRCV special value will save all detached journal receivers in user libraries that have never been saved or that have changed since they were last saved.


BRMS Software Backup Encryption 


Due to regulatory compliance needs, many customers now have requirements to encrypt their backup tapes. IBM's Backup Recovery and Media Services product now supports backup encryption with IBM i 6.1. For encryption support, you will need to install BRMS, including the Advanced feature of BRMS along with the Encrypted Backup Enablement feature, which is Option 44 of the operating system. With BRMS software encryption, you cannot encrypt the operating system, which includes the *SAVSYS, *SAVSYSINF, *SAVSECDTA, and *SAVCFG special values. You also cannot encrypt any libraries that begin with a "Q," such as the QBRM, QUSRBRM, QSYS2, QGPL, and QUSRSYS libraries. There is a performance overhead when performing software encryption. You should expect your saves to take twice as long. The alternative to software encryption without the restrictions and without performance impacts is to use hardware encryption for your backups with a fibre-attached LTO4 or TS1120/TS1130 tape library.    


Recovery for Physical and Logical Files


The last backup and recovery enhancement for IBM i 6.1 that I will discuss is what I consider the very best enhancement. Users have been waiting quite some time for this, and it benefits any system recovery. When you have physical files and logical files in different libraries, the physical file needs to be restored first; otherwise, the logical file does not restore. A second restore to restore the logicals can be very painful and take a significant amount of your valuable recovery time. This recovery situation is now fixed with IBM i 6.1. If you're restoring your system with Restore Menu Options 21, 22, or 23 or if you're using the RSTLIB command with *NONSYS, *IBM, or *ALLUSR, or if you're using BRMS to recover your system, there are no additional steps and neither is there additional time required to restore the missed logicals.


Backup and Recovery Made Simple

As you can see, the many great backup and recovery enhancements in i5/OS V5R4 and IBM i 6.1 make backup and recovery easier. Once you have implemented any of these new backup and recovery enhancements, be sure to always test your recovery strategy using the new enhancements you have implemented.




Debbie Saugen

Debbie Saugen is the technical owner of IBM i Backup and Recovery in IBM's Rochester, Minnesota, Development Lab. She is also a senior recovery architect/consultant with IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services. Debbie enjoys sharing her knowledge by speaking at COMMON, technical conferences, and business continuity and resiliency conferences and writing for various magazines and Web sites.



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    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.


  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using as a pre-built development environment



  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.


  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.



  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption



  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.



  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access




  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.


  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.



  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.



  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.