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Don't Let Back-Ups Back You Up

Backups are still necessary.

Backups are still necessary.

FlashCopy is a local mirroring approach. When data changes on one logical disk (SLED or array), Flash immediately copies it to another disk. Most implementations allow you to toggle between the primary and the back-up. This, PPRC and XRC still suffer from the fact that logical errors are replicated along with any valid data.

Tape is still a reliable medium for back-up. But, except for data interchange used between companies not hooked up for interactive FTP data interchange, this is about the only use for tape these days. This is not a feasible medium for backing up data that is changing on a minute-by-minute basis.

Conclusion

If you take away only one thing from this article, it should be to know when you create back-ups, you better have a method to test them.

The other main issue with back-ups is that we still have to do them. They take time, interfere with production processes, lock out databases and generally cause pain. But without them, the business suffers. The windows for doing them have shrunk, but we still have to do them.

IBM is coming up with more (closer to) real-time back-ups, but recovery can still take time, and there are still times when data is unavailable. So, until users and programmers become infallible, back-ups are here to hurt.

Ted MacNeil is a capacity/performance analyst with more than 25 years in the IBM mainframe environment. Ted can be reached at tedmacneil@alumni.uwaterloo.ca.



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