Everyday backup checks

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 Check all your backups every day.

While Goodin Associates can assist as needed with client data backup issues, the responsibility for checking and maintaining iSeries and Imaging local and online backups falls to the client.

Types of backup

When you first purchase a new iSeries/AS400 or PC JIMS Imaging system through Goodin Associates, our practice, unless otherwise directed by the client, is to set you up with either a local (on-location) hard drive or tape backup system, and provide you basic instructions for how to confirm the success of every backup. To be clear, it is a separate local backup system for the iSeries and for Imaging. Additionally, Goodin Associates offers online backup services for your iSeries and Imaging systems. Nearly all our clients participate in these online backup services. 

Note: online backups are not a replacement for local hard drive/tape backups. For instance, while the GAL iSeries/AS400 Online Backup includes versioned backups, the GAL Imaging Online Backup Service behaves differently. Its advantages, such as near-real-time coverage rather than once a day, are accomplished by continuously mirroring your Imaging document files. Deleted documents are not mirrored, so we can help you restore something you accidentally delete. But all other changes, including modification or corruption of a file, will also exist in the backup copy. On such occasions, access to an older copy/backup of your image files, as could be obtained from an out-of-rotation weekly, quarterly or annual backup, would be required.

Combined, local and online backups provide our clients a very good layer of data protection, with each type of backup offering its own advantages. Consider the following:
  1. Fire, water damage, theft, a hard drive crash, vandalism: Does the backup taken off location actually contain a good current backup? Did staff remember to confirm? If staff forgets to check the success of your daily backups, did they forget for more than a week, a month, longer? Without checking, they won't realize when there's a problem, which could result in erasing or corrupting every one of your backups.
  2. Large scale disaster: A tornado could wipe out your courthouse and your off-site tape/hard drive storage location.
  3. Data corruption: A file can get corrupted by user or hardware error. It would help to have access to an older version of a file to compare it to a suspected corrupt file. Consider internal sabotage, where an authorized user may have been deleting data for weeks. It would be helpful to have a monthly or yearly backup to review and compare, and from which to restore if needed.
These scenarios cast light on the importance of maintaining local and online backups, out-of-rotation backups and checking to confirm that all your backups are actually working every day.  

Failure to check all your backups every day risks data loss. Don't take that risk. 

Consider assigning multiple staff to check all your backups every morning. Assigning multiple staff increases the chance that your backups actually gets checked, so that if an error arises it will be found out, reported and dealt with it.

Check your iSeries/AS400 local backup --using "green screen"

New iSeries/AS400s come equipped with a hard drive (instead of a tape drive) for local/on-location backups. To check the success of these backups, use the following "green screen" method that pertains to your setup:

Tape backup check

    Identify the time your backup is set to run. 
    1. At a green screen command line, type GO BACKUP and enter
    2. Take menu option 10
    3. Take menu option 20
    4. Note your daily “Backup Time” (in military time) and the days backup is set to run.
    5. F3 all the way out
  1. At a command line, type DSPLOG and strike the F4 (Cmd 4) key
    1. At “Beginning time”, type the "military time” you identified above, e.g. 23:00:00.
    2. At “Beginning date”, type the date you wish to check, e.g. 11212020 (for November 21, 2020), and Enter.
      1. What you will see is a very specific section of a 30-day log that the iSeries/AS400 maintains. You specified the date and time.
      2. Find the start of your backup job.  It should look something like this:
        1. Job 779320/QSYSOPR/QEZBKTMTHU started on 11/21/20 at 23:00:00…
      3. Beyond this entry, look for entries that resembles the following. You may need to page down to find these entries. They may be separated by other entries. That said, the backed up libraries are approached alphabetically. Our concern is the successful backup of the GAL### libraries.
      4. Display History Log Contents
        401 objects saved from library GALADR.
        2164 objects saved from library GALCRT.
        5 objects saved from library GALCST.
        40 objects saved from library GALDEF.
        18 objects saved from library GALDRG.
        93 objects saved from library GALEMP.
        694 objects saved from library GALIDP.
        321 objects saved from library GALJUR.
        27 objects saved from library GALMAC.
        20 objects saved from library GALMSG.
        277 objects saved from library GALNOT.
        575 objects save from library GALPRB.
        201 objects saved from library GALSTA.
        7 objects saved from library GALZIP.
        14 libraries saved at 11/21/20 23:32:02.
      5. Note the last line shown here, "14 libraries saved at 11/21/20 23:32:02".  This tells you the number of libraries saved, and the date and time. Your number of libraries will vary, depending on your setup.
      6. Note the libraries beginning with GAL***.  These are the libraries we really care about.  If any objects did not back up from any of these libraries, the entry would look like:  
        1. 691 objects saved from library GALIDP. 3 objects not saved.
        2. An occasional message of this sort likely indicates that someone forgot to sign-out of the system, which prevented a file from backing up. If such a message appears daily, call GAL, because you have an issue.
      7. If you cannot locate entries such as those described here, or if you see anything radically different, such as, "Backup Failed or Backup Error," or if you are not sure, call GAL.
      8. Another critical thing to note is an entry that reads
      9. Device TAP01 needs to be cleaned.
      10. Do not ignore this message. Run an appropriate cleaning tape cartridge in the iSeries/AS400 tape drive.
      11. The DSPLOG command can be run any time without interruption to other iSeries/AS400 operations.

Hard drive backup check

    Identify the time your backup is set to run. 
    1. This time, likely set to 23:00:00, is arranged between the Circuit Clerk and GAL at the time the iSeries with hard drive backups was installed. Call GAL to confirm.
  1. At a command line, type DSPLOG and strike the F4 (Cmd 4) key
    1. At “Beginning time”, type the "military time” arranged with GAL, e.g. 23:00:00.
    2. At “Beginning date”, type the date you wish to check, e.g. 11212020 (for November 21, 2020), and Enter.
      1. What you will see is a very specific section of a 30-day log that the iSeries/AS400 maintains. You specified the date and time.
      2. Find the start of your backup job.  It should look something like this:
      3. Job 779320/GAL/RMSBCKCL started on 11/21/20 at 23:00:00…
      4. Beyond this entry, look for entries that resemble the following. You may need to page down. These libraries will not necessarily be listed alphabetically, nor without interruption of other messages.
      5. 401 objects saved from library GALADR.
        2164 objects saved from library GALCRT.
        93 objects saved from library GALIDP.
        694 objects saved from library GALIMG.
        321 objects saved from library GALJUR.
        321 objects saved from library UTLLIB.
        Job 779320/GAL/RMSBCKCL ended on 11/21/20 at 23:04:34…
      6. Note the last line shown here. You should see something similar.
      7. Note the libraries beginning with GAL***.  These are the libraries we really care about. 
      8. If any objects did not back up from any of these libraries, the entry would look like:
        1. 691 objects saved from library GALIDP. 3 objects not saved.
        2. An occasional message of this sort likely indicates that someone forgot to sign-out of the system, which prevented a file from backing up. If such a message appears daily, call GAL, because you have an issue.
      9. If you cannot locate entries such as those described here, or if you see anything radically different, such as, "Backup Failed or Backup Error," or if you are not sure, call GAL.
      10. The DSPLOG command can be run any time without interruption to other iSeries/AS400 operations.

Check your Imaging local backup and online backups --using the GAL PC

Click here for instructions on how to check your:
  • PC JIMS IMAGING to tape or hard drive backup
  • The GAL iSeries/AS400 online backup
  • The GAL IMAGING online backup.

See our Guidance on Prudent Backup Procedures for more on your backups and recommended enhanced backup procedures.

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Supplemental iSeries/AS400 local backup check (options)

PC JIMS Check Save Status

This method is NOT as thorough as the "green screen" method. Use only as a reminder to do the "green screen" check.

  1. Go to “Technical” at top, and Select “Utilities”
  2. Click “Check Save Status”.
  3. Use the down arrow at “Check for save date” to check ONLY your previous night's backup.
  4. Do not use this to check prior backups, not even your Friday night backup on a Monday. To check any tape backup other than the one that ran last night, use the alternate "green screen" instructions below.
  5. Explanation: If you enter a date other yesterday's, you'll get a message telling you that your backup didn't run "on the given date". Unfortunately, this can be misleading, because your tape backup may have run perfectly well on that date. But because of the way Check Save Status works, it's actually reporting on your most recent save date. It does this by looking at markers left behind on your data files/libraries to indicate when they were last backed up, as indicated in the columns in the background at left of your Check Save message. These markers are left behind when your tape backup runs, AND when your GAL Online Backup runs. Sorry for the confusion.
  6. Click “Load”. The program may take a minute or two.
  7. If all is well, you will receive a Check Save message that reads, "All *FILE objects in GAL libraries were saved on the given date."
  8. If you receive save errors, call Goodin Associates.

Daily Backup Report


Receive an automated iSeries/AS400 local (backup to tape or hard drive) Daily Backup Report (optional). Use only as a reminder to do the "green screen" check. --This report can take several minutes to run, delaying the initial activation of the user ID. While the information presented in this report is certainly indicative of whether or not a local tape/hard drive backup is active, it is NOT an adequate indicator of backup success. 

Setup a user ID to generate this report at first logon:
  1. At a "green screen" command line, type WRKUSRPRF *ALL and enter.
  2. Locate the user ID to associate with the automated report, and type a 2 beside it, and enter.
  3. At “Initial program to call”, type CHKSAVCL
  4. At “Library” directly beneath this, type GALCRT and enter.
  5. Alternately, call Goodin Associates for help.
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