Mainframe Disaster Recovery without Tapes – Part 3

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Dave Race

Dave Race

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

So now we know how the solution works, but what do you do if you don’t have a remote DR site you can replicate to? 

One of my customer’s had contracted with a large DR service firm for access to their mainframe in the event of a disaster. They paid a monthly fee for access to processing power but not to actually host a remote VTL for replication. Now the challenge is how to get the VTL data from the data center to the DR site for restore?

The solution was to get a second small VTL and replicate locally within the same data center. The second VTL was only 5U in height and could run on 110v or 208v power. We shipped the second VTL and channel gateway to the DR site, and set it up on a work bench without even racking it. It was attached via FICON to the DR service firm’s mainframe and restores began. The alternative to shipping a small VTL would be to ship several thousand 3490 tape cartridges and spend many hours restoring them.

An additional benefit of this solution is that all new scratch VOLSER were also served up by the VTL. This enabled my customer to depart with all their media without fear of leaving sensitive data behind. A little DASD scrubbing and we were ready to go!

So what’s the go-forward strategy for an organization with limited resources but a mandate to protect their mainframe data? First, save money now by virtualizing your tape operations. You’ll save money in manpower, media and maintenance compared to what you are paying now. Second, replicate your VTL data. The second VTL may be owned by your organization or may be leased through a service company. If you do not have a remote DR site to replicate to, why not find a facility near an airport to make it easier to fly your data out of the region? Lastly, plan and exercise. Complete both your disaster recovery and business continuity plans, and exercise them regularly. Without regular exercises, your chances of recovery diminish rapidly.

Remember, it not a question of if a disaster will strike, only when.

Dave Race

Solutions Architect


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

  1. […] This is part 2 of this series of posts. Read Part 1 and Part 3. […]

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

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