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VMS/Itanium standalone backup

 
paquins
Occasional Contributor

VMS/Itanium standalone backup

My company is looking into purchasing a rx2660 Itanium server.
On Alpha, we use an external SCSI tape backup to perform standalone backups and occasional restores.
On our new Itanium, we could probably use any new way to perform standalone backups and restores but I am wondering what to select.

rx2660 config would have a DVD drive and 4 SAS disks configured as 2 raid 1 arrays(2x2HDDs).

So, available options for standalone backup:

1) DVD-RW Is it possible? Recommended?

2) Backup to a 5th SAS disk

3) Backup to USB drive? Possible?

4) To tape with an additional SCSI card and external tape drive?

Any other way I should explore? I will be able to perform trials on a development computer.
Thanks to all who responds
Steve
9 REPLIES 9
Volker Halle
Honored Contributor

Re: VMS/Itanium standalone backup

Steve,

welcome to the OpenVMS ITRC forum.

1) to burn a DVD, you need an intermediate LD device. While it might be possible to do a backup, restore will be a problem, if you are using your DVD drive to boot the OpenVMS I64 operating system DVD.

2) that works

3) it is not possible to configure a new USB device into the standalone operating environment when booted from the OpenVMS I64 DVD.

4) that works as well

Volker.
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: VMS/Itanium standalone backup

Ok. Fourth try on reposting this. ITRC is tossing errors all over. Apologies on any replicated answers that might appear.

>My company is looking into purchasing a rx2660 Itanium server.

Good box.

There are some cheap rx2600 boxes on eBay, if you want to get your toes wet for very little cost.

>On Alpha, we use an external SCSI tape backup to perform standalone backups and occasional restores.

Probably not the correct phrasing. Tape isn't bootable on Alpha and standalone BACKUP disappeared on OpenVMS Alpha starting at the V6.1 release.

It's fully feasible to boot the CD on Alpha, then use tape. And that works on OpenVMS Integrity, too.

>On our new Itanium, we could probably use any new way to perform standalone backups and restores but I am wondering what to select.

Tape works. Disk works. Biggest issue with tapes is (still) tape capacity, as disks are getting bigger. So you tend to end up in loaders and libraries if you head that way.

>rx2660 config would have a DVD drive and 4 SAS disks configured as 2 raid 1 arrays(2x2HDDs).

I might well look to add spindles. They're cheap.

>So, available options for standalone backup:

>1) DVD-RW Is it possible? Recommended?

DVD is both slow to access and slower to record, and comparatively unreliable.

>2) Backup to a 5th SAS disk

Certainly faster, but you'll probably want deeper archives than one SAS or SATA disk, and folks can tend to look at using a combination of SAS and SATA storage.

>3) Backup to USB drive? Possible?

That works. USB isn't the fastest interconnect, so look your windows and device speeds carefully. Figure you'll see less than half of the quoted 480 Mbps rate, best case. And you probably won't ever see best case.

And yes, you can use the USB environment for archiving your system disk, if you've configured the base system environment appropriately.

>4) To tape with an additional SCSI card and external tape drive?

That works.

For some environments, that's a common solution.

An external SCSI or SAS/SATA connection or HP's preferred FC SAN solution gets you rather more expansion, in terms of archival media and disk storage.

>Any other way I should explore? I will be able to perform trials on a development computer.

Depends on how much data, how much churn, how frequently your archiving, what your backup window might be (if you even have one), what products you are using (and their respective archival requirements and capabilities), what regulatory requirements are in place for the data and the archives, and a host of other details not yet in evidence.

Remember that any cheap archival solution will be a cheap solution. More than a few folks have found that the cheap solutions have turned out to be write-only storage, too.

Heuser-Hofmann
Frequent Advisor

Re: VMS/Itanium standalone backup

Blu-Ray (45 GB) via USB/IDE is an option, too.

Eberhard
paquins
Occasional Contributor

Re: VMS/Itanium standalone backup

I am looking for the standalone backup solution: a backup of the complete OS or data disk installation for fast turnaround in case of failure of the RAID1 array. A different solution will handle daily backups.

Would it be possible to use the RAID1 to duplicate disks?
RAID 1 array with HD A and B ,new HD C
When I need a standalone backup,
1. Remove B HD of the RAID 1 array.
2. Insert another similar HD C.
3. Let the array rebuild the new HD C.
4. Shutdown.
5. Remove rebuilt HD C and store on shelf.
6. Reinsert HD B and rebuild array.
Voilà. I have a standalone backup on HD C with complete installation.
Is this possible? Pros and cons? Note this operation is done once every 6 month.
TIA
Steve
Heuser-Hofmann
Frequent Advisor

Re: VMS/Itanium standalone backup

If you use host based shadowing you can do this without reboot.

Eberhard
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: VMS/Itanium standalone backup

>Would it be possible to use the RAID1 to duplicate disks?

Host-based Volume Shadowing (HBVS), yes, some folks use it.

Some RAID controllers include similar archival processing.

>RAID 1 array with HD A and B ,new HD C
When I need a standalone backup,

There is no stand alone BACKUP on OpenVMS Alpha V6.1 and later and on OpenVMS I64. You have access to full OpenVMS, and full BACKUP. (And on recent OpenVMS VAX, if you know where to look on the CD distro.)

The V6.1 and later environment is massively easier to deal with than traditional standalone BACKUP.

From disk. Either from a hard disk, or from the DVD.

>Is this possible? Pros and cons? Note this operation is done once every 6 month.

I'd probably follow what's documented in the manuals.

Boot the DVD or boot the local bootable root on a spare disk, and use BACKUP /IMAGE on the system disk.

With a BACKUP /IMAGE disk-to-disk, you have a bootable target disk, and you don't have to break your hardware RAID (nor your HBVS RAID).

And if you want to do this by failing disks out on the controller (an approach which I would likely not choose and not recommend here), check to see what's permissible on the particular RAID controller. RAID controllers are made to deal with disk failures, and may or may not have integrated replication capabilities. If the controller does have integrated replication (not RAID; raw block copy) I'd go that way.

Double-spindle failures are fairly common with RAID based on some large studies from CMU and Google; a second disk failure when the first failure is being recovered arises (IIRC) has been seen to arise around 25% of the time. Accordingly, I don't like degrading RAID sets.

Don Nutt
Advisor

Re: VMS/Itanium standalone backup

Actually Stand alone Backup still exists and creates the standard SYSE directory on the selected device as has been available, well, for a long time.

This is the output of the boot_options.com on the specified device (my $1$DGA300) and as you can see by the boot flags -fl e,0 that I have a stand alone backup.

***** SNIP *******

EFI Boot Options list: Timeout = 5 secs.

Entry Description Options
----- ---------------------------------------------------------- -------------
2 Min VMS on DGA300: FGA0.5008-05F3-0006-C451 FGA0.5008-05F3 -fl e,0
$1$DGA300 PCI(0|c1|4|0) Fibre(500805F30006C451,Lun3000000000000)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 entries found.


Enter your choice:

****** SNIP ******

I used the following command.

SYS$SYSTEM:I64VMS$PCSI_INSTALL_MIN.COM

This is also invoked if you attempt to run:

SYS$UPDATE:STABACKIT.COM

The only pre-condition is that the target device be mounted by your process and not be mounted by /SYSTEM, /CLUSTER, /GROUP or /SHARE.

However that is explained cleaarly when you execute the COM file.

I am sure that this should get the desired results that you want. Good Luck and I hope this helps.


Don
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: VMS/Itanium standalone backup

> Actually Stand alone Backup still exists
> [...]

Yes, it does. On VAX. Only.

> This is also invoked if you attempt to run:
>
> SYS$UPDATE:STABACKIT.COM

And the reason that xxxx_INSTALL_MIN.COM is
invoked when you try to install Standalone
BACKUP on a non-VAX is that THERE IS NO
Standalone BACKUP on a non-VAX.

But thanks for playing.
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: VMS/Itanium standalone backup

Quoting from the text displayed by the STABACKIT.COM procedure:

--
Standalone Backup is no longer part of the OpenVMS Alpha operating
system. Please refer to the "Backing Up and Restoring the System
Disk" appendix in the "OpenVMS Alpha Upgrade and Installation
Manual" for more information.

After reading the information in the manual, you may wish to use
the procedure SYS$SYSTEM:AXPVMS$PCSI_INSTALL_MIN.COM to install
OpenVMS Alpha without any optional features on one or more of your
"data disks".
--

This text from an OpenVMS Alpha V7.3-2 installation that was handy.

The results are an installation of OpenVMS Alpha or OpenVMS I64 on the target disk.

While this particular distinction might seem pedantic, the full bootable version of OpenVMS Alpha that's generated by AXPVMS$PCSI_INSTALL_MIN.COM is massively more capable than the older standalone environment. Having been back on some OpenVMS VAX boxes doing some work, I go out of my way to use the full bootable environment that's quietly added onto recent OpenVMS VAX CD distributions. This in preference to the traditional standalone BACKUP mechanisms that's still in use there.

As for the original question, boot the distro or boot OpenVMS from a "spare" disk, and follow the instructions around a full disk-to-disk copy that's included in the OpenVMS manuals. This to create the copy of your system disk. You're in full OpenVMS with full BACKUP, and it looks and works like you'd expect, and it's rather more capable than the older standalone BACKUP environments.