New Tool Promises More Bearable Backups

The AS/400 may have fairly robust backup and restore capabilities, but performing these tasks from a green-screen command-line terminal is not for the faint of heart. Systems administrators are required to memorize arcane command syntax, while interpreting what are sometimes very cryptic OS/400 system messages.

That's why RICOMM Systems Inc. (Marlton, N.J.) has put a PC-based GUI front end in front of this procedure, simplifying the process with point-and-click commands. The company recently began shipping a new version of its RTAPE/400 SBR (Smart Backup & Restore) software, which runs with IBM's Client Access or Client Access Express on an attached PC. "As the number of AS/400s grows, there's more users that are a little less IT inclined," says Anthony Lawry, technical partner with RICOMM. The new product also parlays IBM's new thrust on putting more administrative functions on a Windows PC through Client Access, he adds.

With SBR, RICOMM seeks to ease such tasks as restoring libraries, members or objects. RICOMM claims the tool will save and store more than 9,999 files on a single tape volume, which conserves tape volume usage and streamline tape handling. In addition, SBR includes a feature that allows users to back up and restore spool files, says Lawry.

The product is designed to support all tape systems or DASD that are connected to the AS/400. In addition, the product will take advantage of IBM's Magstar 3590 tape subsystems, which have fast-file tracking capabilities, adds Mark August, senior systems architect with RICOMM. Support for this device enables SBR to take advantage of a high-speed search capability that reportedly can go directly to the file the customer wishes to restore, thus reducing tape-positioning time.

--J. McKendrick