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What You Should Know About the Format of Records Saved to a Save File, Part 2

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Do you need to retrieve data from variable-length fields of deleted records?

 

The data of variable-length fields of records deleted from a file can be retrieved provided that the inserts and updates performed in the file after the records were deleted didn't affect the variable part of the file.

In the first part of this article, we saw that, when a physical file is saved to a save file, the fixed and the variable parts of every recordthat is, its records A and Bare stored separately in areas A and B of the save file. We also described the format of records A and B and saw that the data stored in area A of the save file could be retrieved for the deleted records.

In the second part of the article, we will see how the system manages the data of the variable part of the records and determine under which conditions this data can be retrieved for the deleted records.

Effect of File Operations on Records B

When a record is deleted from a file, the only field changed in its corresponding record B is RRN1, which is set to 0 (see section "Format of Records B" in the first part of the article). In addition, the space taken up by this record B is marked as available so that it can be reused to store data for another record of the file. This space is marked as available by adding an item containing its length, segment number, and segment offset to an array located in an area of the save file that we will call area 14. As the only change that needs to be done in area B when a record is deleted is to set field RRN1 to 0, the system can delay this change until another access to area B is requested.

When a record of a file is updated, the new values that are to be stored in area B are kept in the current record B if it's long enough to hold them. If the new values don't fit into this record B, the system looks for an available record B (that is, a record B whose length and location are stored in area 14) long enough for the new values. If such a record B is found, the system reuses it to store the new values. If it's not found, a new record B is added at the end of area B. Finally, if the original record B could not be used to store the new values, its field RRN1 is set to 0 and the space it takes up is marked as available.

For example, let's insert the two following records into physical file FILE2:

     A          R RFILE2

     A            FLD1           1A

     A            FLD2          30A            VARLEN

     A            FLD3          30A            VARLEN

     A            FLD4           1A

insert into QTEMP/FILE2 values

   ('1', 'AAA', '12345', '0'),

   ('2', 'BBB', '12345', '0')

The two corresponding records B are the following:

Area B (save file record 57):

   Bk___ DataBk   nnnn RRN   wk AccumLenk

   E EndOfRecord

                                                    RRN  From  To

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5   57     1  50

     © u 4ze¦                           AAA12345

01000B0A2FA86000000000000000000000000000CCCFFFFF00

030834040495A0000100000001000000000103081111234500

                                        B1_B2___

                                nnnnw1w2        nn

....+....6....+....7....+....8....+....9....+....0         51 100

  Ë        BBB12345    Ë

00700000000CCCFFFFF0000700000000000000000000000000

01300020308222123450002300000000000000000000000000

           B1_B2___

nnEnnnnw1w2        nnnnE

In the following update, the new values for fields FLD2 and FLD3 fit into the current record B:

update QTEMP/FILE2

set FLD2 = 'NEWAAA', FLD3 = '7'

where FLD1 = '1'

Area B:

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5

     © u 4ze¦                           NEWAAA75

01000B0A2FA86000000000000000000000000000DCECCCFF00

030834040495A0000100000001000000000106075561117500

....+....6....+....7....+....8....+....9....+....0

  Ë        BBB12345    Ë

00700000000CCCFFFFF0000700000000000000000000000000

01300020308222123450002300000000000000000000000000

When a record is deleted, the field RRN1 of its corresponding record B is set to 0 and the space taken up by this record B is marked as available:

delete from QTEMP/FILE2

where FLD1 = '1'

Area B:

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5

     © u 4ze¦                           NEWAAA75

01000B0A2FA86000000000000000000000000000DCECCCFF00

030834040495A0000100000001000000000006075561117500

....+....6....+....7....+....8....+....9....+....0

  Ë        BBB12345    Ë

00700000000CCCFFFFF0000700000000000000000000000000

01300020308222123450002300000000000000000000000000

Area 14 (save file record 65):

   ll length   ss segment number   oooo segment offset

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5

     m u 4ze¦

0100090A2FA860000000000000000000010000020000000000

040834040495A0000100000000000000050100000000000000

                                llssoooo

In the next case, the new values for the record don't fit into its record B and the only record B available is not long enough for the new values, so a new record B is added at the end of area B:

update QTEMP/FILE2

set FLD2 = 'NEWBBB'

where FLD1 = '2'

Area B:

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5

     © u 4ze¦                           NEWAAA75

01000B0A2FA86000000000000000000000000000DCECCCFF00

030834040495A0000100000001000000000006075561117500

....+....6....+....7....+....8....+....9....+....0

  Ë        BBB12345    Ë        NEWBBB12345    Ë

00700000000CCCFFFFF0000700000000DCECCCFFFFF0000700

0130000030822212345000230002060B556222123450002300

Area 14:

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5

     m u 4ze¦

0100090A2FA860000000000000000000010000020100000300

040834040495A0000100000000000000050100000501000500

Let's delete the record we have just updated:

delete from QTEMP/FILE2

where FLD1 = '2'

Area B:

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5

     © u 4ze¦                           NEWAAA75

01000B0A2FA86000000000000000000000000000DCECCCFF00

030834040495A0000100000001000000000006075561117500

....+....6....+....7....+....8....+....9....+....0

  Ë        BBB12345    Ë        NEWBBB12345    Ë

00700000000CCCFFFFF0000700000000DCECCCFFFFF0000700

0130000030822212345000230000060B556222123450002300

Area 14:

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5

     m u 4ze¦

0100090A2FA860000000000000000000010000020100000301

040834040495A0000100000000000000050100000501000508

....+....6....+....7....+....8....+....9....+....0

     [

00000400000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

01000A00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

When we insert the following record, the system reuses an available record B to store the fields FLD2 and FLD3. Note that the item in area 14 corresponding to this record B is initialized to 0.

insert into QTEMP/FILE2 values

('3', 'CCC', '123456', '0')

Area B:

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5

     © u 4ze¦                           NEWAAA75

01000B0A2FA86000000000000000000000000000DCECCCFF00

030834040495A0000100000001000000000006075561117500

....+....6....+....7....+....8....+....9....+....0

  Ë        BBB12345    Ë        CCC12345645    Ë

00700000000CCCFFFFF0000700000000CCCFFFFFFFF0000700

01300000308222123450002300030309333123456450003300

Area 14:

*...+....1....+....2....+....3....+....4....+....5

     m u 4ze¦

0100090A2FA860000000000000000000010000020100000300

040834040495A0000100000000000000050100000501000500

....+....6....+....7....+....8....+....9....+....0

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Area 14

Area 14, as it happens for areas A and B, consists of the positions 1 to 512 of a group of consecutive records of the save file. From its position 33, it stores an array of items 8 bytes long containing the length and location of records B whose space has become available and can be reused by the system. Figure 1 shows the format of these items:

 082113MaciasFigure1

Figure 1: This is the format of an item of area 14.

When an available record B is reused by the system to store data for a record inserted or updated in the file, its corresponding item in area 14 is initialized to 0.

To identify the record of the save file where area 14 begins, we'll use the fact that positions 7 to 18 of every segment of every area of a given member are the same. Beginning at the record of the save file that follows the first record of area B, we will look for a record of the save file whose position 2 is equal to x14 and whose positions 7 to 18 are equal to positions 7 to 18 of the first segment of area B.

The end of area 14 is determined by the beginning of the following area. This area begins at the following record of the save file whose position 2 is equal to x15 and whose positions 7 to 18 are equal to positions 7 to 18 of the first segment of area B.

Area 14 seems to have a maximum size, at least in many cases. Currently, this maximum size is 16MBthat is, one segmentso area 14 can store up to (16MB – 32 bytes) / 8 = 2,097,148 items. If this number of items is reached, the system will ignore the requests to store new items in area 14 until there is some free spacethat is, until some of the available records B are reused by the system and their corresponding items in area 14 are initialized to 0.

Retrieving Data from Records B

The record B that an item of area 14 points to can be found in the record of the save file and at the position that is shown in Figure 2:

082113MaciasFigure2

Figure 2: These are the record of the save file and the position where record B begins.

Field RRN2 of record B allows us to identify the corresponding record of the physical file and the corresponding record A in area A. Field Status of this record A will tell us whether the record of the physical file was deleted or not.

As we saw in section "Effect of File Operations on Records B", there can be several records B containing data for the same record of the physical file, one of them corresponding possibly to the insert of the record in the file and the others to some of the updates of the record. Taking into account how the system manages records B, we can get to the conclusion that the record B containing the latest data is the longest one.

In order to retrieve the data of the fields stored in area B for a record R that has been deleted from a file, we need to be certain that the latest record Bthat is, the record B containing the latest data of record Ris present in area B. If some other record has been inserted or updated in the file after record R was deleted, and this insert or update required a record B, the system may have reused the latest record B of record R.

If the system did reuse the latest record B and there are another records B corresponding to record R, it would be incorrect to consider one of these records B as the latest one. For example, when record no. 3 was inserted into FILE2 in section "Effect of File Operations on Records B", the system reused the record B containing the latest data of record no. 2 ("NEWBBB", "12345") to store the data for record no. 3 ("CCC", "123456"). The data from the other record B corresponding to record no. 2 ("BBB", "12345") is not the data record no. 2 had when it was deleted.

The only case where we can know that the latest record B has not been reused by the system is when its field RRN1 is different from 0. As we saw in section "Effect of File Operations on Records B", this happens when a record has been deleted from the file and the system has delayed setting to 0 the field RRN1 of the corresponding record B.

As a consequence, for each insert or update requiring a record B that has been performed in a file after the records were deleted, there may be a deleted record whose data in area B cannot be retrieved or can be retrieved but is not the latest one.

Another limitation to the retrieval of data from area B for a deleted record comes from the fact that area 14 has a maximum size. If an item cannot be stored in area 14 because this area has reached its maximum size, the location of the record B contained in that item is lost.

Finally, we must take into account that the fields whose data can be retrieved from the latest record B are only those whose corresponding length in record A is equal to x8000. A length of a field different from x8000 implies that the latest data for that field was not stored in the corresponding record B (see VarFieldLen in section "Format of Records A" in the first part of the article).

GETDLTRCD Command

The Get Deleted Records (GETDLTRCD) command is an implementation of the concepts seen in this article. It can be downloaded from the MC Press web site in English and Spanish. I would be grateful for your feedback on the command, especially if some error is found.

 

Juan Macias

Juan Macias has a Degree in Mathematics (1988) and a Master in Data Management from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (1989). He's a developer of RPG and COBOL applications mainly for finance and insurance companies. He can be contacted at correojrm@yahoo.es.

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    • 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.