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Monday, December 04, 2017

Stay Away From The Spectrum Protect For Windows 8.x Client

I wanted to make everyone aware that starting with the 8.1 Windows Client, IBM has deprecated the System State restore process so that any restore attempt will require the use of a WinPE environment. With the 8.1.x client you can no longer do a complete restore of a server within the normal windows environment and will have to make sure you have a compatible WinPE for every Windows Hardware type or environment. This, in my opinion, is a huge break of the software. Although IBM will swear it's because Microsoft does not support online system state restores it appears to be a weak argument. I say this knowing that if you are on a 7.x or earlier version of the client IBM will support you with the system state restore, but as of 8.1 you will be directed to build a Windows PE environment and follow a series of step that the support person I spoke with treated as if it should be second nature to any Windows Admin. 

We recently were migrating a clients server and in the process the disks were corrupted. The client installed on the new machine was 8.1.2 and when the Windows Admins tried to restore the system state they experienced the following error.

After speaking with support we were directed to the following document by Andrew Raibeck that discussed creating the WinPE disk image with the TSM client code that would allow the offline restore of the System State. We attempted to build the ISO but when the Windows Admin tried to run the dsmc client we experienced the following error:

Who do we call when we experience an error like this in a WinPE environment? IBM or Microsoft? This is ridiculous and I don't think IBM fully grasps how big of an issue this will be with their customers. Am I now required to make sure that to be ready for a DR scenario or test that we have WinPE ISOs and that my admins are fully aware how to use and troubleshoot them? So basically make sure you add a handful of hours to any Windows full server restore situation.  If you were fully aware of this and took precautions what were they? My thinking is that many admins have no idea this is going to bite them and its better you know now than find out the hard way.

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