BRMS Cloud Storage Solutions Requirements and Considerations

BRMS can be used to transfer virtual save media, from tape or optical image catalogs, to/from the cloud using product IBM Cloud Storage Solutions for i (5733ICC). Cloud Storage Solutions for i allow cloud connector resources to be defined for cloud storage providers such as IBM SoftLayer (IBM Cloud), AWS S3, Google, IBM Cloud Object Storage cloud server and for private interfaces such as file transfer protocol (FTP).

BRMS will create BRMS storage locations for each cloud resource defined on a system. When virtual media is moved to a cloud storage location, the media will be transferred to the cloud using the cloud resource. Likewise, when that media is moved from a cloud location the media will be transferred back to the i system. Media will also be automatically transferred back to the system during a restore when no local save media is available to the restore.

In the following discussions, the following terminology will be assumed -

  • cloud location - A BRMS storage location that is associated with a Cloud Storage Solutions cloud resource.

  • cloud resource - A Cloud Storage Solutions cloud resource.

  • location - A BRMS storage 'location'.

  • media - For Cloud Storage Solutions topics, media refers to virtual media from an image catalog.

  • move/movement - 'Move' and 'movement' refer to media changing from one BRMS storage location to another. This is logical movement that is only reflected in BRMS databases. It does not in itself imply that the media is physically transferred to other storage.

  • system - An IBM® i 'system' that is using Cloud Storage Solutions.

  • transfer - Media 'transfers' refer to media physically changing from IBM i storage to storage associated with a cloud connector. BRMS media movement to or from a cloud location will cause media to be transferred to or from a cloud resource.

Configuration

After a new cloud resource is added using product IBM Cloud Storage Solutions for i, BRMS will create a set of default objects to be used to store objects in the cloud. One of the following command must be run so BRMS can create the default objects for new cloud resources:

INZBRM OPTION(*DATA)

STRMNTBRM

Note: Since some of the BRMS objects associated with cloud configuration are shared between systems in a BRMS network, cloud connectors with the same name on systems in the BRMS network must refer to the same cloud configuration. If cloud connectors with the same name do not refer to the same configuration, they will cause unpredictable results when used during BRMS operations.

For more information regarding the objects created by BRMS for use with cloud resources, see BRMS Cloud Storage Concepts.

Transferring media to the cloud

Users may initiate transfers to the cloud manually by changing the location of media to a cloud location. This can be accomplished by changing the location of the media to a cloud location via command interfaces or implementing a move process.  For more information regarding manual cloud transfers see User Initiated Transfers of Media to Cloud Storage.

BRMS also provides a turn-key cloud service that allows users to take advantage of the cloud with minimal configuration. For more information regarding turn-key cloud transfers see Automatic Transfers of Media to Cloud Storage.

NOTE: When media is transferred to the cloud it is marked as full. Since the media is marked as full, additional saves cannot be appended to the media even if the media is transferred back to the system.

Cloud storage utilization

Large amounts of storage may be required for backup media. Large backup media can cause lengthy transfer times when the media is moved to a cloud location. To minimize the number of transfers that are performed to the cloud, once a volume has been transferred to the cloud, the media will remain in the cloud even if the media is transferred back to the system. Subsequent moves to the same cloud location will not require the media to be transferred to the cloud since it already exists there. The media will remain on the system until STRMNTBRM MOVMED(*YES) has been run and the number of days to retain media has been exceeded.

After media has expired, BRMS will remove the media from the cloud when the STRMNTBRM command is run. Media will also be removed from the cloud if it is moved to a different cloud location.

If media that is using cloud storage is removed from the BRMS media inventory, the cloud storage is NOT deleted and will NOT be deleted using any BRMS interfaces. After the media that is using cloud storage is removed from BRMS, the cloud storage must be cleaned up manually by the user via cloud storage provider interfaces. Media is removed from the BRMS media inventory using the following interfaces:

  • RMVMEDBRM

  • WRKMEDBRM and then specify option 4=Remove on a media entry

  • BRMS GUI client

NOTE: As a general rule, you will require the same amount of free storage on your system as the amount of data you are saving. Once the saved data has being transferred to the cloud, the storage used for the save will be freed unless RETAINDATA (see "System storage utilization" below) is been used.

NOTE: If there are any network failures during the transfer, once corrected, data transfer will need to start from the beginning of the file.

System storage utilization

Normally, the media is removed from the system immediately after the media has been copied to the cloud. It may be desirable to have the media quickly accessible on the system for a period of time after the transfer. This will allow restores to be performed from the media without the expense of having to transfer the media in the cloud back to the system.

System backup and recovery using the cloud

At this time, system recoveries can not be performed directly from BRMS media that has been transferred to the cloud. In order to perform a system recovery from cloud media, special procedures must be followed to create physical optical install media. The physical optical media will contain SAVSYS data and objects from other libraries, such as QUSRSYS, QBRM, QUSRBRM, etc. After the optical media is used to restore Licensed Internal Code (LIC), the operating system and other required objects, subsequent restores can be performed directly from the cloud media using BRMS.

For more information regarding system backup and recovery using the cloud, see System Backup and Recovery from the Cloud.

Encryption

Software encryption is supported when saving data to the cloud and using virtual tape.

If using IBM Cloud Storage Solutions for i V1.2.0 with encryption or compression, ensure that the cloud connector names match the source system that transferred the backup to the cloud. Also, verify that the all key store files match the source.

NOTE: The key store file and key label are case sensitive.

Performance

Currently, the average performance users are seeing when saving to Softlayer/AWS using a 100Mb/s line is:

  • Per Second 12,5 MB

  • Per Minute 750 MB

  • Per Hour 45 GB

Cloud saves using FTP from IBM i to another IBM i over a 10Gb line

  • 9.654614GB in 1100 seconds, rate 31.565925GB/hour

  • 2.227581GB in 394 seconds, rate 20.297895GB/hour

Restricted state cloud operations

Cloud transfers can be performed in restricted state if restricted state TCP/IP has been configured and BRMS has been configured to use it. See  How do I setup to use TCPIP in a restricted state for more information.

Impacts to movement

When the MOVMEDBRM, STRMNTBRM MOVMED(*YES) or VFYMOVBRM command is run and the movement processing has completed, the commands will attempt to complete transfers of media to or from the cloud for media that has a status of *TRF. These transfers may cause the movement commands to run longer than they have in the past. This should not impact users that are not using the cloud to store BRMS media.

Archive and Dynamic Retrieval

Starting with the September 2018 BRMS PTFs, BRMS support Archive and Dynamic Retrieval from the cloud. Refer to the PTFs for the supported releases below. See Archiving and Dynamic Retrieval for more information.

NOTES

  • To use BRMS with Cloud Storage Solutions for i, product IBM Cloud Storage Solutions for i must be installed on a stand-alone BRMS system or on all the systems in a BRMS network. 

  • It is recommended to stay current with the latest PTFs for BRMS and Cloud Storage Solutions for i.

NOTE: If a BRMS network contains a 6.1 system please contact a service representative before applying the PTF(s) to any of the systems in the BRMS network.