Wed, Apr
0 New Articles

Partner TechTip: Improve Your Tape-Based Backup and Recovery Processes

High Availability / Disaster Recovery
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Many organizations still depend on tape backups as their primary—and often only—means of protecting data from disasters. There are at least three reasons for tape's continued prevalence as a backup medium. First, it's cheaper than disk for large-volume storage. Second, it's portable. A courier can easily move terabytes of data offsite for safekeeping. Third, the compliance regulations require that many companies use tape-based backups.

Despite widespread use, tape backups suffer shortcomings. For one, because they are disruptive, backups are normally performed during off-hours, but the 24x7 operations that come with increased globalization and ecommerce, coupled with growing databases, mean that backup windows are often too short or even non-existent. Another problem is that, despite much faster tape speeds than in the past, tape recovery is still a comparatively slow process. Recovering a data center—which is, after all, the reason for taking backups—may take days, crippling operations in the meantime.

The biggest problem, however, is that because backups are typically taken nightly or weekly, data updates that occur between backups are likely to be vulnerable to loss should a disruption occur. If you're using journaling, these will be captured, but a disaster serious enough to destroy the primary databases will likely also obliterate the journals if the information is not also saved to tape and moved offsite. Thus, as much as one day's worth of unsaved data (or more if the most recent backup tape is corrupted or has not yet been shipped offsite) may be permanently lost after a disaster.

The gold standard for rapidly and completely recovering data is high availability (HA) software that maintains a hot-backup server at a remote location, but some organizations consider this too costly for all of their servers. Not only must they acquire the high availability software, but they must also buy and maintain a second System i server of adequate capacity to serve as the backup. Consequently, financial considerations often lead organizations to, reluctantly, accept the risk of losing a day's worth or more of unsaved data. Fortunately, that's no longer necessary, Although many smaller shops can now cost-justify HA because of dropping prices, not all are ready for HA. Data vaulting solutions, such as iTera Vault from Vision Solutions, provide a practical solution to companies that need an intermediate solution.

iTera Vault is a disk-to-disk solution that transfers data and object changes to another system serving as a "vault" for backups. This vault, which can be either local or remote to the production system, doesn't require special software, nor does it have to be a System i server. It can also be a low-cost Linux, Windows, or UNIX platform. The only requirement is that it be able to support sufficient disk space to store all of the data to be vaulted on it.

On the production System i server, iTera Vault uses journaling to monitor changes to data and objects. It can batch journaled information and transmit it to the vault at regular intervals, or it can send them on an ongoing basis as they are modified on the production server. Before sending data, iTera Vault compresses it to reduce network bandwidth requirements. This compression, coupled with the fact that only changed data and objects are sent, makes network transmission to a remote site a practical alternative.

In addition to being faster because the interim data saves are disk-based rather than tape-based, recovery after a disaster is also easier with iTera Vault. Loading tape backups onto a system at a recovery site is a mostly manual process. In contrast, iTera Vault automates most of the operation and guides an operator through the complete recovery process. This automated, disk-based recovery process can shave hours or, depending on the size and nature of the data, even days off the time required to restore operations.

iTera Vault can also provide benefits when a problem of less-than-disastrous proportions arises. It can be used to recover single or multiple objects when data on the production system is inadvertently erased or corrupted.

See the MC Showcase Buyer's Guide for more information about iTera Vault and Vision Solutions.

Joel Klebanoff is a consultant, a writer, and president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc., a Toronto, Canada-based marketing communications firm, and author of BYTE-ing Satire. Joel has 25 years experience working in IT, first as a programmer/analyst and then as a marketer. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science and an MBA, both from the University of Toronto. Contact Joel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Joel Klebanoff

Joel Klebanoff is a consultant, writer, and formerly president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc., a Toronto-based marketing communications firm. He has 30 years' experience in various IT capacities and now specializes in writing articles, white papers, and case studies for IT vendors and publications across North America. Joel is also the author of BYTE-ing Satire, a compilation of a year's worth of his columns. He holds a BS in computer science and an MBA, both from the University of Toronto.

MC Press books written by Joel Klebanoff available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

BYTE-ing Satire BYTE-ing Satire
Find out the hilarious answer to the eternal question: "Is technology more hindrance than help?"
List Price $14.95

Now On Sale



Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 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. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) 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:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. 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:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot 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:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic 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.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: