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Technology Focus: Handling Backup and Recovery Chores In-House

High Availability / Disaster Recovery
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If you need a better answer for in-house data backup services but can't afford full-blown high-availability solutions, here are some other options.

 

Thirty years ago (or maybe as recently as last night at some small businesses), a "typical" in-house backup and recovery strategy was to back up all the hard drives on the server and hang the tape in a library until next week, when it would be time to overwrite "Monday's" tape with next Monday's backup.

 

You know your business is small if you can still get away with this approach. Now, formulating a backup and recovery strategy is a thicket of decisions about choosing tape or no tape, hanging the tape onsite or offsite, using software only or a combined hardware/software solution, or just signing up with some cloud-service provider and be done with it all. And that doesn't take into account whether you're including all the client machines or just all the servers in the backup plan.

 

High-availability software and service providers will tell you the best plan is hot backup to an offsite server. That way, you can make the offsite machine your production server with the flick of a switch so you won't lose a single byte of data or a single second of processing time, no matter what's happening at your site or in your general neighborhood.

 

And of course, they're right about that being the best solution from a reliability standpoint.

 

But maybe you can't afford that, handy and airtight and slick as that would be. Maybe you can afford the four or six hours of downtime it would take to recover manually from your own backups more easily than you can pay for the service and licensing fees that come with high-availability systems. If that's your decision, though, that's not the end of the thinking.

 

Should you use some kind of software-only backup and recovery software? Should you rely on a combined hardware/software solution for the best results? Or should you just leave it in the hands of some service provider? Opinions differ on what the best path might be, and money isn’t the only consideration.

 

Hardware vs. Software vs. Service Solutions

 

"The choice of a software or hardware appliance backup solution is largely dependent on how an enterprise wishes to deploy their backup technology," observes Dave LeClair, vice president of product marketing at Unitrends. "With an all-in-one physical backup appliance, the hard work of integrating servers, storage, operating systems, backup software, and so forth, is removed. You simply buy it, turn it on, configure it, and get on with your other tasks. A software-only solution requires IT to do more integration work but lets them run their backup solution on their choice of hardware. Both have their advantages."

 

"Whether the backup and recovery platform is on premises or leverages some off-premise or cloud-based services is not as important so long as the solution chosen by the backup team does not expose a company to liability," stresses Giacomo Lorenzin, managing director of HiT Software, a BackOffice Associates company. "For example, the backup and recovery team should make sure that the data from an ERP or CRM application is backed up properly so that, in case of hardware failure, the data can be quickly restored and users will not experience business interruption."

 

"There are various ways to accomplish this task," he continues. "One way is migrating and synchronizing data among disparate relational databases implementing Change Data Capture (CDC). This refers to an on-premise solution where the main database is replicated in real time to a secondary database so that, if something happens to the production database, the backup database can be made immediately operational. The advantage of using a CDC solution is that it can be applied for other activities, such as reporting, business intelligence, data warehousing, and data integration in general."  

 

On the other hand, opting out via using a cloud service offering may not be the easy solution it might seem. To Brad Jenson, CEO at Electronic Storage Corporation (ESC), the keys to a backup strategy are "capacity and speed. Cloud storage is horribly slow and should only be used as a last-resort backup."

 

Unitrend's LeClair agrees. "A cloud-only solution is fraught with issues. At first glance, cloud storage provides abundant, cheap storage that can be expanded rapidly as needed. However, for enterprises that have large data sets, there are limitations that must be considered. Cloud solutions are dependent on sending large amounts of data over WAN connections. A typical data center has many terabytes of data on-premise, and moving this to the cloud can be a daunting task. Even with a high transfer-rate WAN pipeline, it can take days to transfer this large amount of data. Likewise, when having to restore from the cloud, WAN bandwidth can be a limiting factor. Therefore, relying solely on a cloud solution may put the enterprise into a situation where they are not able to meet backup windows, recover quickly from a downtime event, or restore data when needed."

 

Particularly when needing to back up client machines is part of the equation, "using Windows deduplication, the customer can keep many backups close at hand and still replicate them across the network or the Internet," suggests ESC's Jensen, thereby providing better backup services with a local solution than a cloud-based service can.

 

Above all, HiT Software's Lorenzin says, "It's very important for enterprises to maintain an in-house team that is responsible for planning a backup and recovery strategy. Having a team that understands a company’s best practices for managing backup and recovery activities ensures the enterprise's ability to properly address challenges and that any hardware or software problems will be resolved in an efficient and timely manner."

 

Backing Up Into the Future

As varied as backup and recovery strategies might be, life isn't going to get easier for IT strategists anytime soon.

 

"In the next 10 years, there will be a tenfold increase in servers, a 50-fold increase in data, and data files will grow 75 times, while IT staff will only increase by 50 percent," warns LeClair. "The explosion of data and servers, limited IT staff and budgets, and the pressing need to adopt the new IT design paradigms, such as cloud, big data and mobile initiative, all strain IT today."

 

Jensen agrees. "The biggest problem is the ever-increasing size of backups and the desire for improved recovery point objectives [RPOs] and recovery time objectives [RTOs]." 

 

Perhaps the best plan for the future of backups is formulating a hybrid plan that uses the best elements of hardware, software, local, and remote options. "By having local backup available (for fast recovery when needed) augmented by a cloud solution (for disaster recovery or to store many years of archives), enterprises can get the best of both worlds and be protected from a wide range of potential issues that can disrupt their businesses," LeClair concludes.

 

"If a company chooses a hybrid backup and recovery solution, then the cloud component must be in alignment with the on-premise one,” Lorenzin emphasizes. "Additionally, every company planning for a backup and recovery process should also address data archiving. Data that is no longer needed in everyday operations should be removed from the database and archived in a consistent, secure, and easy-to-be-retrieved manner."

 

Regardless of what sort of backup and recovery strategy you might follow, below are a number of options that support numerous paths to saving your data. Please be aware that the product and service descriptions only summarize the highpoints of each offering. For more complete information, be sure to use the links to the product websites included with the name of each offering.

 

Backup and Recovery Software for IBM i Servers

 

ASG Software Solutions

ASG-Time Navigator

ASG-Time Navigator is a backup and recovery solution for saving and restoring files from any point in time from any backup media for IBM i servers running Linux or Windows. Security features include encryption, digital signatures, and hierarchical encryption-key management.

 

CommVault

Simpana

Simpana is backup and recovery software for a variety of platforms, including servers running DB2 and Lotus Notes. Features include virtual machine integration, data snapshot management, single-pass backup and archiving, and data replication for disaster recovery.

 

Electronic Storage Corporation

LaserVault Backup

LaserVault Backup is a software library for IBM i servers that provides a tapeless disk-to-disk backup system without requiring a virtual tape library. It implements custom versions of save commands similar to current IBM commands and requires only a Windows-based backup server to function.

 

EMC

Avamar

Avamar is backup and data deduplication software for IBM i and other servers running AIX and Linux. It emphasizes full daily backups and one-step recovery processes and can handle up to 124 TB of data.

 

EVault

Onsite Server Backup

Evault's backup software automatically backs up multiplatform physical and virtual servers, either onsite or remotely. It lets users monitor and control backups via browser and offers WAN-based methods that speed backup operations.

 

HelpSystems

Robot SAVE

Robot/SAVE is automated backup and disaster-recovery software that includes automatic backup and recovery, data encryption, object archiving, automated restricted-state saves, and other features.

 

HiT Software, a BackOffice Associates Company

DBMoto for IBM i

DBMoto for IBM i lets users migrate, convert, share, or synchronize data between multiple IBM i servers. It includes APIs for interfacing with other software applications, captures data changes based on event logs, and supports any number of transactions.

 

IBM Corporation

Tivoli Storage Manager for System Backup and Recovery

Tivoli Storage Manager for System Backup and Recovery is designed for IBM i servers running AIX. The product provides system backup, restore, and reinstallation capabilities, as well as utilities to create backup scripts or schedules, choices of backup types, and pass-through support that lets servers communicate with other AIX servers through firewalls.

 

LXI Enterprise Storage

iSeries Open Client

The iSeries Open Client offering lets enterprises control backups of multiple open-systems servers, including IBM i servers, from a single console. It lets users standardize backup policies across all platforms, access detailed lists of libraries and objects on IBM i servers, and bring IBM i servers under central management via an open API.

 

Pinnacle Business Systems

TRAC/400

TRAC/400 software handles backup and recovery and media-management operations across multiple IBM i servers and interfaces with virtually all job-scheduling utilities. It offers total data backups, predefined backups, scheduled backup strategies, and concurrent or simultaneous saves.

 

Unitrends

OS400 Backup

Unitrends offers IBM i-specific software for handling backups. Features include user choice of full or differential backup schedules, adaptive deduplication of data, and user-specified granular determination of file and folder exclusions.

 

Backup and Recovery Hardware/Software Combinations for IBM i Servers

 

Electronic Storage Corporation

LaserVault Universal Backup Device

LaserVault Universal Backup Device (UBD) is an appliance that plugs into IBM i servers and appears to the system as a tape drive.

 

EMC

EMC DataDomain

EMC DataDomain is a hardware device with onboard software that offers backup and recovery, domain replication, data deduplication, data encryption, and domain management from a central console.

 

Tributary Systems

Tributary ANTARES

ANTARES is a storage appliance for IBM i servers and other platforms running Linux, UNIX, and Windows. It offers backup and virtualization services for multiplatform computer environments.

 

Tributary ECLIPSE

ECLIPSE is a gateway backup storage appliance that attaches EMC DataDomain and other deduplication storage solutions to a variety of platforms, including IBM i and Power Systems servers running i5/OS, AIX, and Linux.

 

Tributary Storage Director

Storage Director is a hardware product that attaches to IBM i machines and other host servers to provide a consolidated connection to backup or virtualization devices. Among other features, onboard software provides backup and recovery services, AES data encryption, monitoring and planning capabilities, and data replication to remote servers or storage devices.

 

Backup and Recovery Services for IBM i Servers

 

Asigra

Asigra Cloud Backup

Asigra Cloud Backup is designed to provide backup and recovery services for public, private, and hybrid cloud environments and supports backups for virtual machines as well as physical servers. It can be purchased either as software for onsite personnel to use or as a SaaS service offering managed by Asigra.

 

Champion Solutions Group

Cloud Storage Strategies

Champion's Cloud Storage Strategies provides cloud-based backup and recovery, long-term archiving, and disaster-recovery services. Services include 256-bit AES encryption over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), unlimited online public folders, sharing of files of any size via email, and ability to see file-access and sharing history.

 

Server Virtualization

Server Virtualization services include backup/recovery/data-sharing with virtual servers, server consolidation, and disaster recovery. User options include creation of multiple virtual servers on a single physical server, tracking of virtual machine activity, SOX/HIPAA/PCI-DSS standards compliance, and auditing aids.

 

CPS Technology Solutions

Backup & Disaster Recovery

CPS offers backup and disaster recovery services for a variety of platforms, including IBM i servers. Options include disk-to-disk backup, remote replication, cloud backups, and disaster-recovery planning.

 

Data Storage Corporation

IBM iSeries Backup & Recovery

Data Storage Corporation provides remote backup and recovery subscription-based services for IBM i servers. The service provides off-site data storage, electronic data vaulting, and encryption and password protection of data. 

 

HiT Software, a BackOffice Associates Company

DBMoto Cloud Edition

DBMoto Cloud Edition provides cloud-based data replication for moving or sharing data with remote systems. It supports IBM DB2 as both source and target databases, enables administrator-defined mapping rules, provides administrative wizards to streamline setup, and offers a mirroring mode that performs incremental replications in real time.

 

iSamBlue

Blue Cloud Services

Blue Cloud Services provides hosted-service, cloud-based backup and recovery and HA for IBM i and open-systems servers.

 

LXI Enterprise Storage

Information Lifecycle Management

Information Lifecycle Management includes backup and recovery management, tape management, vault management, Lotus Notes/Domino hot backup, and other services for IBM i, AIX, and Linux servers, as well as servers using other operating systems.

  

Storagepipe

Storagepipe Off-Site Cloud Backup & Recovery Service

Storagepipe Off-Site Cloud Backup & Recovery Service provides backup-related services via either the Internet or custom direct connections. Features include bare-metal restoration capabilities, the ability to back up only files that have been changed or are new, hot backup and recovery of databases and applications from operational systems that run 24/7, and dynamic multi-threaded transfers.

 

iSeries Online Backup

Storagepipe's iSeries Online Backup is a backup and recovery service tailored to IBM i servers that features integrated archiving, automatic backup encryption, incremental backups after an initial full-system backup, an unlimited scalability.

 

United Computer Group

Vault 400

Vault 400 backs up entire contents of IBM i servers to secure data centers. The service offers compliance with HIPAA and other legal standards, data encryption, online access to backed-up date by authorized users, and data compression for faster service completion.

John Ghrist

John Ghrist has been a journalist, programmer, and systems manager in the computer industry since 1982. He has covered the market for IBM i servers and their predecessor platforms for more than a quarter century and has attended more than 25 COMMON conferences. A former editor-in-chief with Defense Computing and a senior editor with SystemiNEWS, John has written and edited hundreds of articles and blogs for more than a dozen print and electronic publications. He is currently CEO of John Ghrist Agency, a marketing communications firm for technology companies. You can reach him at ghrist@comcast.net.

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    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    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 NodeRun.com 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.

     

     

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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.