What’s Using Up All My Tapes? – Using Tape Management Catalog Data

BrettBy Dave Heggen

tape management catalog

Most of the data processed for IntelliMagic Vision for z/OS Tape is performance, event or activity driven, obtained from SMF and the Virtual Tape Hardware. Did you know that in addition to the SMF and TS7700 BVIR data, IntelliMagic Vision could also process information from a Tape Management Catalog (TMC)? Having this type of data available and processing it correctly is critical to answering the question “What’s using up all my tapes?”.

We’re all set up and distributed scratch lists. This is a necessary (and generally manual) part of maintaining a current tape library. It does require participation for compliance. Expiration Dates, Catalog and Cycle management also have their place to automate the expiration end of the tape volume cycle. This blog is intended to address issues that neither compliance nor automation address.

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The Attack of the Disk Clones


By Lee LaFrese


Attack of Disk ClonesWhen I first started working in the storage industry, the only way data was backed up was via tape. In the days of $10,000 per gigabyte of disk, there was no way any sane person would propose disk back-up.  The best practice for Disaster Recovery (DR) in these days was to create a nightly tape backup and then use PTAM (pick-up truck access method) to store it offsite. Applications were unavailable during the dump and the odds of successfully restarting after a disaster were typically not in your favor. DR testing was piecemeal at best and ignored at worst. In those days, the statistics suggest that many enterprises that experienced a major data loss due to a disaster simply went out of business.

Today, it is a different world. Cheaper disk, combined with the realization that most businesses need continuous availability, has led to replication schemes designed to avoid both data loss and downtime in the event of an unexpected outage. Point in time copy is used to make local disk clones to facilitate functions such as data mining, business intelligence, and rigorous DR testing. Straightforward backups are still done, but they now often use “tapeless tape” systems that rely on spinning disk instead of on magnetic tape. The net result is that instead of two copies of data (one on disk, one on tape), many enterprises now have more copies of their data than they can keep track of.  Indeed, this proliferation of copies has been a major influence on the explosion of storage capacity that has been going on. Although there are good reasons for all of these copies, it seems that our data centers are under siege by disk clones! Continue reading

Does your Disaster Recovery Plan meet its objectives? Analyzing TS7700 Tape Replication (Part 1 of 2)


By Burt Loper


This blog is the first in a series of two blogs on the topic of Mainframe Virtual Tape Replication.

One of the challenges in IT is getting your data replicated to another location so that you have a recovery capability if your main operations center is compromised. IBM TS7700 Series Virtualization Engines support the copying of your tape data to other locations.

This article explores the various TS7700 replication modes.

TS7700 Terminology

The IBM TS7700 Virtualization Engine is commonly known as a cluster. When you connect two or more clusters together, that is called a grid or composite library. The information here applies to both the TS7740 model (which uses backend tape drives and cartridges to store tape data) as well as the TS7720 model (which uses a large disk cache to store tape data).

In a multi-cluster grid, the clusters are interconnected with each other via a set of 1 Gb or 10 Gb Ethernet links. The TS7700’s use TCP/IP communication protocols to communicate with each other and copy tape data from one cluster to another.

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