Mainframe Disaster Recovery without Tapes – Part 1

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Dave Race

Dave Race

“The mainframe is dead – long live the mainframe.” How many times have we heard that sentiment? Just about every client I’ve come across with a mainframe has been planning for years to get off of it – kind of like smokers promising to quit. There are many reasons to do it, but it’s always harder than it looks. So, I guess mainframes are here to stay (at least for a while).

I’m a certified business continuity planner, and all of my mainframe clients are struggling with the cost of protecting and recovering their mainframe data. Traditionally tape has been the media of choice, but large libraries of tapes are expensive and the media is inherently susceptible to errors. Have you ever experienced a media error in your tape silo?

Today, we have virtual tape library unit (VTL) and channel gateway (CG) technology that we are combining to solve this problem. We emulate the ever ubiquitous 3490/3590 tape mechanisms but actually write to fully redundant ATA disk drives in the VTL. It works great! All you have to do is to lay a few extra FICON cables and gen a few new tape devices. It looks and feels exactly like the old tape silo, to the mainframe, but without the extra cost of maintenance, media and manpower. In fact, we can drive a full 80 MB/sec throughput of that FICON channel and gen up to 256 devices per channel gateway. I have customers who are able to copy a 3390 mod 9 volume through a CG in just over 3 minutes. They are restoring that same volume in just over 4 minute! Imagine what that will do to your batch processing jobs…

This is all great, but how does this help disaster recovery? I’ll go into that in Part 2, and Part 3.

Dave Race

Solutions Architect


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3 Responses to “Mainframe Disaster Recovery without Tapes – Part 1”

  1. […] This is part 2 of this series of posts.  To read part 1 […]

  2. […] In part 1 of my series on Mainframe Disaster Recovery without Tapes I covered “virtual tape librar…In part 2, I covered “the disaster recovery process”. In this post I will address “additional challenges associated with mainframe disaster recovery without tapes”. […]

  3. Lily says:

    Informative, thanks.

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