Admin Alert: Other Options for a Post-Upgrade Backup
May 25, 2011 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In an earlier column, I wrote about how administrators can save time after an i operating system upgrade by performing a Save System (SAVSYS) backup instead of a full system save. Several readers wrote in with more information and system information backup tips. Let’s look at what they had to say about post-upgrade backups and what we can learn from them.
A Better Post-Upgrade Backup Strategy
Pete Massiello of iTech Solutions wrote in with the best suggestion for post-upgrade backups when he said:
I perform many upgrades, and I tell my customers that the best option, if time permits, is to perform an option 21 save (Entire save) after an upgrade. The second best option is an option 22 backup (System data save), which performs a Licensed Internal Code backup (LIC), a SAVSYS, an IBM library save (SAVLIB *IBM), and an AS/400 IFS SAV of the required IBM directories that were just updated during the upgrade. This provides a complete restore and recovery point of everything that has changed with the upgrade. Plus don’t forget, you should ALWAYS perform a full system option 21 backup before starting your upgrade.
This is a perfect solution for ensuring that all operating system objects are saved after an upgrade. If you want to run this backup, go to your partition’s SAVE menu by entering the following Go to Menu (GO) command.
On the Save menu, take option 22, System Data Only, and this backup will only save your system data.
Another Save Menu Option Worth Looking At
The other interesting Save menu option is option 20, Define Save System and User Data Defaults. Taking option 20 allows you to change the following default options the system uses for an option 21 full system backup.
For many administrators, some of these defaults are exactly the wrong parameters to use for an unattended full system backup. At the least, I would recommend that you make the following changes to these parameters.
Alternate IPL Device or Alternate Installation Device?
Reader Mike Charlton wrote in to correct me about this statement I made regarding saving your SAVSYS data to an alternate IPL device. I said:
“One major point to remember is that while performing a SAVSYS backup, you must backup the objects to a device that can be used as an alternate IPL device. If you don’t backup to an IPL device, you won’t be able to restore the system from the SAVSYS media, if necessary.”
And Mike graciously corrected me on this by writing:
If the device is not capable of being used as an alternate IPL device, it should nevertheless be possible to IPL from any LIC source at the same release (i.e., the i_base_01 disk in an optical drive) and then use the media device as an alternate installation device.
Many installation and recovery procedures can be performed by using a combination of your primary installation device (such as a DVD) and an alternate installation device (such as a tape drive). Here, the system uses the primary installation device to load part of the LIC during an IPL. This kicks off the installation and allows you to switch to your alternate installation device media to complete the installation. If your SAVSYS backup media device is set up as an alternate installation device, you can kick off a restore by using your system DVD as the primary installation device and then switch over to your SAVSYS media device as the restore shifts into high gear.
Note: Alternate installation devices must be set up on the system through System Service Tools (SST) before they can be used. For a great overview of alternate installation devices, see IBM’s Information Center entry describing what alternate installation devices do and how to set them up and use them.