by Lindsay Weiser

3 iSeries Tips from a Rookie

I am new to the world of IBM Power but in the last 6 months, I've learned a lot and would like to share some of those keyPicture1-2 learnings with you. I'm going to talk about how staying current on your OS avoids trouble, why you need to follow the 3-2-1 best practices rule for backups, and how having a disaster recovery plan prepares you for a worst-case scenario.

Stay Current on your OS to Avoid Trouble

IBM recently released the notice that they are ending standard support for V7R3 effective September 30th, 2023, and some companies have the budget to accommodate purchasing extended support or can perform the necessary upgrade to V7R4. However, some companies struggle with this decision. One thing I have learned early on is to do everything in your power to get approval to be able to stay up to date on the latest OS version. There are too many risks associated with staying on an outdated version of OS including data loss, cyberattacks, or loss of software compatibility. I have heard a few horror stories from companies who decided to not upgrade, and it resulted in a disaster that ended up being much more costly. If you decide to not upgrade, extended support is an option and lets you avoid the risk of your applications not working on the new OS. However, this is not always an effective option as it may take longer to get any issue resolved in a timely manner. How long can you afford to be down?

When you are up to date on the newest OS, you have complete support from IBM if something goes wrong, the latest patches are installed on your box to improve security inside your system and get the newest features that help your system run more efficiently as well as fix any bugs the system had prior. Take the time to upgrade your system to the latest OS so you reduce your business risk of a disaster.

Follow the 3-2-1 Best Practices Rule for Backups

Your data is one of the most important aspects of your business as it includes your customer, employee, financial, and other confidential information. Most people I talk to back up their iSeries production data to physical tape daily. However, this is not always the case for every company. What would you do if that data were compromised or lost? Are you confident your backup strategy can recover your information?

For example, it is a Monday morning, and everything is going smoothly until your AS/400 hard drive fails, and business is completely down. Lucky for you, you have everything backed up to tape, so you immediately begin to restore. However, you notice the tape is not working. The tape you have everything backed up to is older, you have been using it for years and have never tested it. What do you do now?

This example brings me to my second point, follow the 3-2-1 best practices rule for backups. Every company should have three copies of their data on two different media and one stored offsite. Backing up to tape is a very cost-effective method, however, if your tape is bad having your data stored on another media gives you additional options for recovery. You might want to consider a virtual tape library (VTL).

A DR Plan Prepares you for a Worst-Case Scenario

Disaster recovery is one of the most overlooked and under-appreciated topics when running a business. When it comes to technology, sooner or later, something is going to fail. Most have experienced a hard drive failure or went through an internet or power outage. A DR plan is a designated plan that contains detailed instructions on how to respond to unplanned incidents like a natural disaster, an unusual event like a flood or fire, a cyberattack, or even hardware failure.

No business is indestructible, and neither is the iSeries, so you must have a plan for the worst, which also makes you ready for any minor issues. Having a DR plan in place helps to eliminate the initial scramble or panic as it provides all the necessary steps needed to begin the recovery process. If your business depends on the iSeries platform, then you cannot afford to not implement a DR plan as you encounter the risk of longer downtime, data loss, customer dissatisfaction, or even worse damage to your business reputation. Planning for the worst will make you more aware of what could happen and if that situation happens, you will be able to have a guide on what to do and how to recover.

What is the Point?

While I may be an IBM i rookie, these are recurring themes from the customers I have talked to. You cannot control everything when it comes to technology, but you can make significant changes like staying current on your OS, following the 3-2-1 best practices rule for backups, and implementing a disaster recovery plan. Applying these tips minimizes potential risks and if the worst happens, they help you recover much faster and more efficiently.

What Racksquared can do to Help

Racksquared Data Centers is a full-service data center offering everything from colocation to fully managed IT solutions. We specialize in providing IBM Power solutions including colocation, cloud backup, disaster recovery, IBM Power in the cloud, and iSeries administration services. Our customers gain access to IBM technical expertise, the latest IBM technologies (servers and SANs), and a secure, reliable, and resilient environment for their IT systems. We become an extension of your team, providing flexible designs and solutions while managing, monitoring, and supporting your infrastructure so that your business is always up and running.

If you would like to learn more about what we can do for your IBM Power system, check out our IBM Power Solutions on the web, see some of our client success stories, or contact us to schedule a call.

Lindsay Weiser

Written by Lindsay Weiser

Lindsay Weiser has been working in the marketing and sales fields for over 5 years for companies including Sherwin-Williams, Tiffin University, and Atlantic Emergency Solutions. She is new to the IT field and embracing the challenges and learning curve that comes with it.

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