Sunday, July 25, 2010

May I Have One Free Brain Dump...And Another?

OK, so I was contacted by a person from India (I only state that so you'll know why there are so many grammar/typos in the questions) who proceeded to ask me 18 of the following questions of which I was reluctant to respond. I did, however, respond with the following note letting them know what I thought of such e-mails:                
(Keep reading past the first set of continues.)
I would like to point out that the questions you asked are all easily answered by reading the documentation, accessing, or simply by searching the web using Google. Having previously helped in the interviewing and hiring process, I would stress that your inability to utilize the resources already available would make me hesitant to consider you for employment. You need to be a self motivated, problem solving, and resourceful person to excel in IT. The one question I always asked when hiring was, "If you have a problem and you can't resolve it, what would be your steps in finding a solution?" The answer to this one question usually determined if they were good candidates. In the future try to use the resources available to find the answers, and note that just typing HELP on the admin command line can usually provide a majority of the answers you require.
  • How to configure the library in unix level? Depends...if you mean discover the hardware and such it is dependent on the UNIX version. I always used AIX for my TSM servers so cfgmgr was used to discover the hardware and define it to the OS.
  • How to make a communication b/w TSM and library? Most communication happens over the control point. For example in a 3584 you will select one of the drives to be the control point and the HBA it is zoned in the SAN to will be the HBA the library controller (robot) shows up under. All communication happens across this connection. If you use ACSLS then its a whole different process.
  • Different type of H/W components available in library? Again this depends on the library type/manufacturer. You could have LTO, 3590, SDLT, VTL options along with dual robots.
  • In which way you will access the library? There are various tools to access the library but I tend to use the web interface more than I use the AIX library/tape tools (i.e. tapeutil)
  • What will happen when the volume will move to different storage slot inside the library.How to rectify the same? TSM should track the slots and where every tape is. If for some reason the inventory is inaccurate you can run both a library level audit and a TSM level audit. Lookup the AUDIT LIBRARY command in the TSM Admin Reference.
  • If you are running out of scratch tapes then what are the steps you will do to overcome that? Of course there is the standard RECLAIM STG and MOVE DATA commands but a lot depends on how good my processes are at freeing up tapes. It could just come down to deleting old DB backups or I might go so far as investigating whether the Oracle DBA's have been keeping their RMAN catalogue sync'd with TSM. If they haven't I have a very good chance of freeing up a lot of tapes when I manually delete their data from TSM. 
  • How to checkout the tapes from library? If using DRM then MOVE DRMEDIA if not then the CHECKOUT LIBVOLUME command. See the TSM Admin Reference for more details.
  • How to manual clean the drive? You should not need to manually clean a drive but if you decide to then it depends on if you initiate it from the library's web interface or from TSM. From TSM it's a simple CLEAN DRIVE
  • Which will act as a interface b/w library & TSM? I don't quite understand what you mean? In the case of TSM you usually don't need the library's web interface much, most of the handling can be done through TSM.
  • When the volume is throwing error while mounting then what you will do as a TSM admin? I usually check to see if the tape has a history of mount errors, if so I check it out of the library, if not then it could be the drive or accessor are in need of service. If mount errors continue on the drive I will call in a service technician to look at the drive.
  • What is the use of Audit Library? Makes sure that the library physical inventory matches TSM's inventory. If they get out of sync you could have mount failures and errors due to TSM thinking it is grabbing a different tape then it should have found in that slot. 
  • If the stgpool reusedelay parameter is 2 then what will happen when volume becomes empty? After two days the volume is available to be used as scratch again. The reusedelay parameter is good to use if there is a possibility that you might need data from beyond the normal expired time. So technically if you keep 5 days worth of TSM DBbackups then the oldest TSM DB could request tapes that have since expired and been sent back onsite to be used as scratch so you should set the resuse delay parameter to the same setting or same+1 day as the number of TSM DB backups you keep.
  • Uses of Reclamation: Think of reclamation as a Defrag for tape. Reclamation can tape two or more tapes and condense them down to one tape if used correctly. Again lookup RECLAMATION in the TSM Admin Reference.
  •  Depends on library type/config and the number of scratch I need to load. For example I currently am working with a 3584 that has a 10 tape I/O door and needed to load 50 scratch. So I paused the library, opened the storage frame's door and manual inserted all 50 into the open slots (I have a number of columns not in use). I then closed the library and allowed the library's audit to complete before I ran the CHECKIN LIBVOLUME SEARCH=YES CHECKL=BARCODE STATUS=SCRATCH otherwise the standard checkin process through the I/O door works fine. With ACSLS and 3494 libraries the tapes are automatically entered into the library and the CHECKIN LIBVOLUME SEARCH=YES CHECKLABEL=NO STATUS=SCRATCH command is used. Notice it is a little different from a SCSI based library like the 3584.
  • Use of reusedelay & maxscratch? Maxscratch will determine how many scratch a sequential TSM storage pool can use. The reuse delay parameter will determine the number of days a tape that shows as empty in TSM will be in "limbo" before TSM will allow it to be reassigned back to a scratch status. 
  • Why we need multiple management class in a single domain? Multiple management classes in a single domain allow for you to reference different retention rules "on the fly" when running a backup or archive by using the INCLUDE . So say I had a management class called 1_YEAR that keeps UNLIMITED versions for 1 year. To use it on specific data types I would put an include in a clients DSM.OPT or in a client option set.


  • Diff b/w session & process? A session is a TSM client/admin/alternate TSM server connection where a process is an internal task (i.e. MIGRATION) running on the TSM server.
  • Different types of client established session? There are standard client sessions, datamover sessions (NAS), storage agent sessions (LAN-Free), TDP sessions (Exchange, SQL, Oracle, etc), and TSM Server sessions (If the server is a library client accessing the library manager or if using the virtual volume feature).
So after answering these questions, with the added commentary on what I thought about such requests, you would think the person would get a clue and start researching the answers to any further questions...NOPE! I just received the following e-mail from the same person:

Pls clear me.....
  1. Difference between other application and TSM?
  2. About features of TSM.
  3. Make clear me on Roll  forward Mode & Storage pool Hierarchy?
  4. What is meant by copy storage pool?
  5. What is need of SAN in TSM environment?
  6. Where you will mention the destination of backup?
  7. If client want 3 inactive version for 60 days what are the parameter we will mention?
  8. Explain about scheduling and its types
  9. Explain some types of tapes with its capacity.
  10. What are the types of copy group
  11. Where will you allocate the no.of tapes?
  12. How will you check the node belongs to particular domain? 
  13. Where will you define the server for the particular tape?
  14. How will you know the particular volume which has data?
  15. Advantages of Linux?
  16. How to configuring the TSM?
  17. How to see the Database time of yesterday missed file?
  18. About device class and types?
  19. What is meant by Admin Process?
  20. How to see the node started confirmation from server side?
  21. In Migration, why we r giving LOWMIG?
  22. Retension period for node?
  23. Diff between foreground and background?
  24. Tell me the device name for library in TSM on AIX? 
  25. Difference between clientopt and clopset? 
  26. Difference between label and checkinlibvolume? 
  27. Backupset where it will be used? 
  28. If recovery log 100% what will happen?
  29. Suppose TSM server crashed ...what we will do?
  30. What is client option set?
  31. About Restore process and Data Shredding?
Seriously?!? I would never hire this person...I can understand asking a question or two but 31? I just answered 18 out of shear boredom...are some people really this lazy?

Monday, July 19, 2010

TSM to DPM transition

I am currently working a contract transitioning a companies old TSM environment to Microsoft DPM and am discovering once again how Microsoft operates. Just like many of their software products when they were first released, Microsoft's product lacks certain features that others have had for years. As they revise the product they slowly reach a close parity, but it's never quite equal to older more mature products. The clincher is that it's a Microsoft tool and Windows shops don't know any better. As I learn more about DPM I'm convinced it's not going to supplant TSM or Netbackup by features, but shear lack of backup expertise from the administrators. Their MS rep will come in and tout the product with the limited information he has, show them a decent bundle price, sell them DPM, and not be heard of until the next licensing cycle. (Does The Music Man ring a bell?) The reporting capabilities alone are awful! You can't easily create your own and DPM runs on MS SQL. Go figure! And what's with Microsoft pushing their PowerShell?? You can script reports but have to know how to script within MS PowerShell. I thought the whole purpose of Windows was to eliminate the command line? (Not that I mind, I just find it ironic) So as I learn more I'll post what I find, but so far I'm shocked they thought DPM was a better tool than TSM...what they really needed was a good TSM admin not new software.