The Operational Assistant Backup Facility

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Brief: Creating archives of your system's software is the single most important safeguard you can implement. But if you're still struggling with establishing a good backup strategy and need some tools to get it done, look at IBM's Operational Assistant facility. It's got everything you need to keep your system safe.

There's no excuse for not keeping your system fully backed up-your company's survival probably depends on it. Will you be prepared when it comes time to restore your system because of a disk drive failure? If you're using the Operational Assistant (OA) to back up your system, chances are you will.

OA provides a menu-driven interface for many common tasks (see "Operational Assistant Lends a Hand," MC, November 1992). Since a good backup strategy is such a critical component of any disaster recovery plan, OA provides this function as part of OS/400 at no additional cost. This ensures that every AS/400 comes equipped with a built-in, ready-to-go backup strategy. OA doesn't do anything you can't do manually using OS/400 commands, but it consolidates the various components of a backup strategy into one facility. This article shows you how to take advantage of OA to protect your AS/400 data from a disaster.

OA provides you with the ability to back up all of the data on your AS/400 disk drives. You can customize OA to suit your individual needs or use the default settings which provide a well-thought-out, recommended backup strategy. This strategy includes daily, weekly, and monthly backups of user libraries, folders, OfficeVision files, security data, and configuration data. OA also provides options to back up IBM-supplied libraries as well as your entire system.

Keep in mind that, although a good backup strategy is very important, it forms only part of a complete recovery strategy. (For more information, see "Developing Contingency Plans" elsewhere in this issue.)

Overview

Three OA menus are associated with backing up your system. Make sure you have enough authority before you use any of these menus. Your user profile needs the *SAVSYS and *SECADM special authorities. You must also be enrolled in the system distribution directory. To access these menus, use the go backup command which takes you to the Backup Tasks (BACKUP) menu. From there, option 1 takes you to the Run Backup (RUNBCKUP) menu and option 10 takes you to the Set Up Backup (SETUPBCKUP) menu. 1 provides an overview of this menu structure. OS/400 provides commands for many of the OA menu options and a few commands not found on OA menus. Entering the command go cmdbckup displays a list of these commands as shown in 2.

Three OA menus are associated with backing up your system. Make sure you have enough authority before you use any of these menus. Your user profile needs the *SAVSYS and *SECADM special authorities. You must also be enrolled in the system distribution directory. To access these menus, use the go backup command which takes you to the Backup Tasks (BACKUP) menu. From there, option 1 takes you to the Run Backup (RUNBCKUP) menu and option 10 takes you to the Set Up Backup (SETUPBCKUP) menu. Figure 1 provides an overview of this menu structure. OS/400 provides commands for many of the OA menu options and a few commands not found on OA menus. Entering the command go cmdbckup displays a list of these commands as shown in Figure 2.

OA's backup facility takes advantage of OS/400's built-in job scheduling capabilities (see "Job Scheduling: Compliments of IBM," MC, December 1992), allowing you to schedule your backups. You won't have to remember to run a backup each day; OA will run it for you! For example, you can schedule a daily backup at 11 p.m., every Monday through Friday. To make sure someone remembers to load a tape on the tape drive, OA can even send a reminder message before it runs the backup.

In addition to backing up your system, OA provides you with information to track the backup activity on your system. For example, you can display the status of the last backup or print a backup history report. You can also have the Operational Assistant print a detailed report with each backup, showing every object that was saved. You can select whether or not you want this report by configuring OA's backup facility as you'll see in the next section.

Setting Up Backups

The Set Up Backup menu allows you to change OA's default settings shown in 3. OA uses these settings to determine where, what, how, and when to save information during the daily, weekly, and monthly backups. The menu options are divided into tasks:

The Set Up Backup menu allows you to change OA's default settings shown in Figure 3. OA uses these settings to determine where, what, how, and when to save information during the daily, weekly, and monthly backups. The menu options are divided into tasks:

o Change backup options. o Change backup lists. o Change backup schedule.

Changing Backup Options

There are three sets of backup options: daily, weekly, and monthly. The screens used to change each set of backup options are very similar, so I'll only discuss changing the daily backup options.

Select option 1 from the Set Up Backup menu to access the Change Daily Backup Options screen. Here you find two screens as shown in 4 on page 92 (the Roll key accesses the second screen). Most of the options on these screens are self-explanatory; however, I would like to discuss a few of the more important ones in detail.

Select option 1 from the Set Up Backup menu to access the Change Daily Backup Options screen. Here you find two screens as shown in Figure 4 on page 92 (the Roll key accesses the second screen). Most of the options on these screens are self-explanatory; however, I would like to discuss a few of the more important ones in detail.

The Tape sets to rotate parameter on the first screen specifies up to seven tape sets. (A tape set is a group of tapes used for one backup.) Use option 21 on the Backup Tasks menu shown in 1 to initialize tape sets used with OA's backup facility. Normally you would use a different set of tapes for each day, allowing for up to seven daily backups. The default settings only specify three tape sets (DAYA, DAYB, and DAYC). You may want to consider increasing the number of tape sets and using a more meaningful naming convention such as MON, TUE, WED, and so forth.

The Tape sets to rotate parameter on the first screen specifies up to seven tape sets. (A tape set is a group of tapes used for one backup.) Use option 21 on the Backup Tasks menu shown in Figure 1 to initialize tape sets used with OA's backup facility. Normally you would use a different set of tapes for each day, allowing for up to seven daily backups. The default settings only specify three tape sets (DAYA, DAYB, and DAYC). You may want to consider increasing the number of tape sets and using a more meaningful naming convention such as MON, TUE, WED, and so forth.

The second screen allows you to specify what you want to save. Using this screen helps remind you of all of the types of information on your system you might want to back up on a daily basis. If you don't use OA to back up your system, you have to remember to run several save commands (e.g., SAVLIB, SAVDLO, SAVSECDTA) to save all of the information you need. Since OA shows all of the options on one screen, you needn't worry about forgetting to save something or finding out that you have forgotten something when you try to restore your system.

The Change Backup Options (CHGBCKUP) command allows you to access the same information as options 1, 2, and 3 on the Set Up Backup menu. However, unlike using the menu options, the command allows you to change an additional, very useful option.

The user exit program (EXITPGM) parameter of the CHGBCKUP command allows you to specify a user-written program that the system automatically calls both before and after the OA backup runs. (Since your program gets called twice for each backup, the system passes a parameter to your program to let it know whether the call is before or after the backup.) This allows you to perform additional processing along with your normal backup processing. For example, you could write a program to cancel jobs or delete unnecessary objects before the backup runs. If you are interested in writing an exit program, you'll find details in the Operational Assistant section of the System Programmers Interface Reference manual.

Changing Backup Lists

There are two options to Change Backup Lists: one for libraries and one for folders. These options allow you to specify which libraries and folders you want to back up on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The screens to change the backup lists are very similar to each other, so I will only discuss changing the library backup list.

Select option 10 on the Set Up Backup menu to access the Change Library Backup List screen shown in 5. The list is presented in alphabetical order by library name. Use the Find library prompt at the top of the screen to position the list to a particular library.

Select option 10 on the Set Up Backup menu to access the Change Library Backup List screen shown in Figure 5. The list is presented in alphabetical order by library name. Use the Find library prompt at the top of the screen to position the list to a particular library.

By default, all user libraries are selected for the daily, weekly, and monthly backup. Select option 2 to change when to back up the library. This presents you with a window containing four options:

1. Daily, weekly, and monthly. 2. Weekly and monthly. 3. Monthly. 4. No backup.

If you create a new library, the system adds the new library to the list with all three backups selected. So when you create a library that you don't want to be saved during one or more of the three backups, you need to change the new library's entry in the list.

Option 5 (Display library contents) runs the Display Library (DSPLIB) command against the selected library, allowing you to see the objects in the library. Option 8 (Display description) runs the Display Object Description (DSPOBJD) command with the DETAIL(*FULL) parameter on the library object in QSYS. This allows you to view information about the library such as owner, creation date, and last-saved date.

Along with these options, the Change Library Backup List screen also has some useful command keys. Use F11 to toggle between displaying the backup information and the text description of the libraries in the list. Use F14 to filter the libraries on the list. You can select libraries generically by name; you can select libraries included in one or more backups (daily, weekly, or monthly); or you can make your library selections based on the change status of the library. F15 performs the same task as option 2 (Change backup), except that the selection applies to every library in the list instead of one library at a time.

Once you have selected the libraries and folders you want to include in your backups, you can schedule automatic backups as you will see in the next section.

Changing the Backup Schedule

Use option 20 (Change Backup Schedule) on the Set Up Backup menu to schedule the days and times you want your backups to run. When you select this option, you are presented with the screen shown in 6. The system is shipped with a default schedule, but initially it is not activated. To activate the schedule, change the Run backup using this schedule prompt to Y (Yes). This causes your backups to run automatically according to the days and times specified in the schedule.

Use option 20 (Change Backup Schedule) on the Set Up Backup menu to schedule the days and times you want your backups to run. When you select this option, you are presented with the screen shown in Figure 6. The system is shipped with a default schedule, but initially it is not activated. To activate the schedule, change the Run backup using this schedule prompt to Y (Yes). This causes your backups to run automatically according to the days and times specified in the schedule.

To change the default schedule, specify *DAILY, *WEEKLY, or *MONTHLY next to each day of the week you want a backup to run. You can also use the special value *WEEKMONTH, which runs the monthly backup one week per month and the weekly backup all other weeks. This value requires that you also specify 1-4 or *LAST in the Occurrence of day in month to run monthly backup prompt. For example, the Saturday entry in 6 is set to *WEEKMONTH and the occurrence field is *LAST. This means that the system runs the monthly backup on the last Saturday of each month. For all other Saturdays, the system runs the weekly backup.

To change the default schedule, specify *DAILY, *WEEKLY, or *MONTHLY next to each day of the week you want a backup to run. You can also use the special value *WEEKMONTH, which runs the monthly backup one week per month and the weekly backup all other weeks. This value requires that you also specify 1-4 or *LAST in the Occurrence of day in month to run monthly backup prompt. For example, the Saturday entry in Figure 6 is set to *WEEKMONTH and the occurrence field is *LAST. This means that the system runs the monthly backup on the last Saturday of each month. For all other Saturdays, the system runs the weekly backup.

For each day you want the system to run a backup, you need to specify a start time for the backup. You can also request that the system send a message to the QSYSOPR message queue notifying an operator to load a tape prior to the backup. Do this by specifying 1-24 in the Hours before backup to send load tape message prompt-*NOMSG is also valid. The default schedule sends the "load tape" message three hours before the backup runs. For example, the Monday through Friday entries in 6 are set to 17:00:00 (5 p.m.), and the hours field has a value of 3. As a result, each weekday at 2 p.m., the system will send a message to the operator to load a tape.

For each day you want the system to run a backup, you need to specify a start time for the backup. You can also request that the system send a message to the QSYSOPR message queue notifying an operator to load a tape prior to the backup. Do this by specifying 1-24 in the Hours before backup to send load tape message prompt-*NOMSG is also valid. The default schedule sends the "load tape" message three hours before the backup runs. For example, the Monday through Friday entries in Figure 6 are set to 17:00:00 (5 p.m.), and the hours field has a value of 3. As a result, each weekday at 2 p.m., the system will send a message to the operator to load a tape.

Once you activate the backup schedule, OA adds entries to the OS/400 job scheduling facility. This causes your backups to run automatically. You can view these entries by using the Work with Job Schedule Entries (WRKJOBSCDE) command. To find them, look for any entries that begin with the letters QEZBK. OA documentation specifically warns against changing these entries using any of the job scheduling commands. If you need to change your backup schedule, use option 20 on the Set Up Backup menu, not the job scheduling commands.

Running Backups

The Run Backup menu (option 1 on the BACKUP menu) allows you to run backups independently of the backup schedule. This menu contains options 1, 2, and 3 which run the daily, weekly, and monthly backups. You can use these options if you don't want to activate the backup schedule or if you want to run a special one-time backup in addition to those scheduled. Two additional options are available on this menu to back up IBM-supplied libraries and to back up the entire system. These two options cannot be run using the backup schedule.

Option 10 on the Run Backup menu backs up IBM-supplied libraries. These libraries are used by the licensed programs you have installed on your system. In most cases, these libraries begin with the letter Q. IBM-supplied libraries are generally considered nonvolatile, so you normally don't need to back them up as often as your user libraries. However, there are times when IBM-supplied libraries change, such as when you apply PTFs. Plan to back up your IBM- supplied libraries at that time.

Option 11 on the Run Backup menu backs up your entire system. You should use this option quarterly or when you install a new release of OS/400. Running this option places your system in a restricted state by ending all subsystems except the controlling subsystem. (The controlling subsystem is the one specified in the system value QCTLSBSD.) Therefore, you should only run this option from the system console. When you choose option 11 to back up the entire system, OA performs the tasks shown in 7.

Option 11 on the Run Backup menu backs up your entire system. You should use this option quarterly or when you install a new release of OS/400. Running this option places your system in a restricted state by ending all subsystems except the controlling subsystem. (The controlling subsystem is the one specified in the system value QCTLSBSD.) Therefore, you should only run this option from the system console. When you choose option 11 to back up the entire system, OA performs the tasks shown in Figure 7.

What More Could You Ask For?

As you can see, OA provides you with a very good backup solution. OA ships with OS/400 at no additional cost, runs unattended backups, is integrated with the operating system, and is easy to use. But it's up to you to take advantage of it. Use this feature to run daily, weekly, and monthly backups using the backup schedule. Back up your IBM-supplied libraries when you apply PTFs. Back up your entire system quarterly or when you install a new release, whichever comes first. This helps to ensure the restoration of your system if disaster strikes your installation.

Robin Klima is a senior technical editor at Midrange Computing.

REFERENCE Basic Backup and Recovery Guide (SC41-0036, CD-ROM QBKA7L03).


The Operational Assistant Backup Facility

Figure 1 Operational Assistant Backup Menus

 BACKUP Backup Tasks System: MCPGMR To select one of the following, type its number below and press Enter: 1. Run backup 2. Display backup status 10. Set up backup 20. Initialize a tape 21. Initialize a tape set Type a menu option below __ F1=Help F3=Exit F9=Command line F12=Cancel RUNBCKUP Run Backup System: MCPGMR To select one of the following, type its number below and press Enter: 1. Run daily backup 2. Run weekly backup 3. Run monthly backup 10. Back up IBM-supplied libraries 11. Back up the entire system Type a menu option below __ F1=Help F3=Exit F9=Command line F12=Cancel SETUPBCKUP Set Up Backup System: MCPGMR To select one of the following, type its number below and press Enter: 1. Change daily backup options 2. Change weekly backup options 3. Change monthly backup options 10. Change library backup list 11. Change folder backup list 20. Change backup schedule Type a menu option below __ F1=Help F3=Exit F9=Command line F12=Cancel 
The Operational Assistant Backup Facility

Figure 2 Operational Assistant Backup Commands

 CMDBCKUP Backup Commands Select one of the following: Commands 1. Change Backup Options CHGBCKUP 2. Display Backup Status DSPBCKSTS 3. Display Backup Options DSPBCKUP 4. Display Backup List DSPBCKUPL 5. Edit Backup List EDTBCKUPL 6. Retrieve Backup Options RTVBCKUP 7. Run Backup RUNBCKUP Bottom Selection or command ===> _________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ F3=Exit F4=Prompt F9=Retrieve F12=Cancel F16=Major menu 
The Operational Assistant Backup Facility

Figure 3 Operational Assistant Backup Default Settings

 Daily Weekly Monthly User libraries in backup Changes Only All All list (defaults to all) Folders in backup list Changes Only All All (defaults to all) Office Vision Data All All All (mail and calendar) Security Data None None All Configuration Data None None All 
The Operational Assistant Backup Facility

Figure 4 Change Daily Backup Options

 Change Daily Backup Options System: MCPGMR Type choices below, then press Enter. Where to back up: Backup device . . . . . . . . . . . . . TAP01 Name, F4 for list Tape sets to rotate . . . . . . . . . . DAYA Name, *ANY DAYB DAYC Erase tape before backup . . . . . . . . Y Y=Yes, N=No More... F1=Help F3=Exit F5=Refresh F12=Cancel F16=Change library backup list F17=Change folder backup list F18=Change schedule Change Daily Backup Options System: MCPGMR Type choices below, then press Enter. What to back up: User libraries . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1=Selected from list 2=All 3=None Folders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1=Selected from list 2=All 3=None Security data . . . . . . . . . . . . . N Y=Yes, N=No Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . N Y=Yes, N=No OfficeVision/400 mail . . . . . . . . . Y Y=Yes, N=No OfficeVision/400 calendars . . . . . . . Y Y=Yes, N=No How to back up: Save changed objects only . . . . . . . Y Y=Yes, N=No Submit backup as a batch job . . . . . . Y Y=Yes, N=No Print detailed report . . . . . . . . . Y Y=Yes, N=No Bottom F1=Help F3=Exit F5=Refresh F12=Cancel F16=Change library backup list F17=Change folder backup list F18=Change schedule 
The Operational Assistant Backup Facility

Figure 5 Change Library Backup List

 Change Library Backup List System: MCPGMR Find library . . . . . . __________ Starting characters Type options below, then press Enter. 2=Change backup 5=Display library contents 8=Display details -----------Backup----------- Last Opt Library Daily Weekly Monthly Backup Changed _ $DAVMIK Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 No _ $HERJOE Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 No _ $HOFSHA Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 No _ $JONMIK Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 Yes _ $KLIROB Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 Yes _ $MALERN Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 No _ $MELSHE Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 Yes _ $NEEKRI Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 No _ $PELCRA Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 No _ $SHARIC Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 Yes _ $TURRON Yes Yes Yes 06/21/94 No More... F1=Help F3=Exit F5=Refresh F11=Display descriptions F12=Cancel F14=Select other libraries F15=Change all 
The Operational Assistant Backup Facility

Figure 6 Change Backup Schedule

 Change Backup Schedule Type choices below, then press Enter. Press F4 for list of backups. Run backup using this schedule . . . . . . N Y=Yes, N=No Backup Backup Time Sunday . . . . . . . . Monday . . . . . . . . *DAILY 17:00:00 Tuesday . . . . . . . . *DAILY 17:00:00 Wednesday . . . . . . . *DAILY 17:00:00 Thursday . . . . . . . *DAILY 17:00:00 Friday . . . . . . . . *DAILY 17:00:00 Saturday . . . . . . . *WEEKMONTH 12:00:00 Occurrence of day in month to run monthly backup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . *LAST 1-4, *LAST Hours before backup to send load tape message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1-24, *NOMSG Bottom F1=Help F3=Exit F5=Refresh F12=Cancel 
The Operational Assistant Backup Facility

Figure 7 Saving the Entire System

 Command Function ENDSBS SBS(*ALL) Ends all subsystems. SAVSYS Saves the licensed internal code. Saves the operating system. Saves security data. Saves device configuration objects. SAVLIB LIB(*NONSYS) Saves all user and IBM-supplied libraries. SAVDLO DLO(*ALL) Saves all documents and folders. Saves all distribution and mail objects. STRSBS Starts the controlling subsystem. 
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