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8.1 Windows Client System State Restore Issue

chad_small

ADSM.ORG Moderator
#1
I wanted to make everyone aware that starting with the 8.1 Windows Client, IBM has deprecated the System State restore process so that any restore attempt will require the use of a WinPE environment. With the 8.1.x client you can no longer do a complete restore of a server within the normal windows environment and will have to make sure you have a compatible WinPE for every Windows Hardware type or environment. This, in my opinion, is a huge break of the software. Although IBM will swear it's because Microsoft does not support online system state restores it appears to be a weak argument. I say this knowing that if you are on a 7.x or earlier version of the client IBM will support you with the system state restore, but as of 8.1 you will be directed to build a Windows PE environment and follow a series of step that the support person I spoke with treated as if it should be second nature to any Windows Admin.

We recently were migrating a clients server and in the process the disks were corrupted. The client installed on the new machine was 8.1.2 and when the Windows Admins tried to restore the system state they experienced the following error.

upload_2017-12-4_15-37-14.png

After speaking with support we were directed to the following document by Andrew Raibeck that discussed creating the WinPE disk image with the TSM client code that would allow the offline restore of the System State. We attempted to build the ISO but when the Windows Admin tried to run the dsmc client we experienced the following error:

upload_2017-12-4_15-37-14.png

Who do we call when we experience an error like this in a WinPE environment? IBM or Microsoft? This is ridiculous and I don't think IBM fully grasps how big of an issue this will be with their customers. Am I now required to make sure that to be ready for a DR scenario or test that we have WinPE ISOs and that my admins are fully aware how to use and troubleshoot them? So basically make sure you add a handful of hours to any Windows full server restore situation. If you were fully aware of this and took precautions what were they? My thinking is that many admins have no idea this is going to bite them and its better you know now than find out the hard way.
 

RecoveryOne

ADSM.ORG Senior Member
#2
So I've been using the WinPE route for systemstate restoration testing (have yet had to do it for real, but practice makes perfect). My first thought was to use something like Cristie CMBR. However the cost of that...Well, not going to happen. One nice thing is it lets you run it on dissimilar hardware with out a lot of mucking about. Still a nope from the budget people.

AIX I use NIM. I've always had a NIM server for managing patches and OS deployments. Keep your rootvg simple with just what you need to get your system running. I see you are an AIX admin so you know what I'm talking about! Just make sure to test your mksysb's from time to time.

Linux I have had really good results with Relax-and-Recover. Perhaps even easier than NIM truth be told. Unless your disk geometry changes. Or you have to deal with SELinux...

Windows I've gone the WinPE route since there is no added cost to it. Yes there is some training, but if an AIX admin can build WinPE ISO's... Surely the Windows guys can restore the data! Found a wiki link somewhere (will look when I can get a moment) that talked about including scripts into the WinPE so you don't have to manually type setting up the drive letters/dsm.opt and few other time saving items. Over all I found having a few different WinPE iso's no issue. Just keep em on your NIM server or network share. Back it up to TSM and if need be - document restoration of the ISO to your laptop, burn to disk and boot the machine. Key here is documentation. And in a DR your documentation practices might make or break it.

Now, don't get me wrong I'd love to have an all in one tool to tackle AIX, Linux, Windows. Even better if it was actually provided by IBM.
As to handful of hours, I can't say how long it has taken to restore compared to the old way. I've always operated under the assumption the original server is now a smoking slag heap. New and/or re-purposed hardware was stood up to facilitate recovery. Is it more involved, yes.

As to the crash dump, that IMO, would be to IBM. Just to nitpick, not sure I'd be worried about querying the schedule from WinPE :) And I've yet to roll out 8.1.2 clients. The 8.1.0.2's and 7.1.6.5's I have seem to work fine without issue.

Just my thoughts.
 

marclant

ADSM.ORG Moderator
#3
We attempted to build the ISO but when the Windows Admin tried to run the dsmc client we experienced the following error:



Who do we call when we experience an error like this in a WinPE environment? IBM or Microsoft?
It's dsmc.exe that crashed, that's the Spectrum Protect client, you would call IBM.


It's also worth noting that there are different documents for different versions of Windows. "2o12 and 8.0", "2012R2 and 8.1", "2016". All 3 versions can be found here:
https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/... Tivoli Storage Manager backup-archive client
 

chad_small

ADSM.ORG Moderator
#4
We used the 2012R2 document (I might have provided wrong link) but the issue is that IBM no longer supports online system state restore starting with the 8.1 client. For those out there who tend to speed read over the changes doc this should have been in RED with a 20 pt. font. It will make a large impact to the standard admins mode of operation with system crashes or during DR tests.

This along with them breaking the standard communication between different Server versions with 8.1.2 is just frustrating.
 

chad_small

ADSM.ORG Moderator
#5
Was told yesterday by IBM reps that there is a testflag option to allow 8.1 to restore the system state but you wont be supported by IBM if you use it and it doesn't work correctly. The function is still present but wont work online unless you use the flag. I'll post it once IBM provides it.
 

chad_small

ADSM.ORG Moderator
#7
Yes they provided the test flag and asked that we not publish or blog it until they can put a technote out on it. Anyone who wants it can e-mail me at [email protected]. We also were told by Microsoft support that they DO support online system state restores so IBMs reasoning for deprecating the function does not seem to have merit.
 

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The Spectrum Protect TLA (Three-Letter Acronym): ISP or something else?

  • Every product needs a TLA, Let's call it ISP (IBM Spectrum Protect).

    Votes: 9 16.4%
  • Keep using TSM for Spectrum Protect.

    Votes: 32 58.2%
  • Let's be formal and just say Spectrum Protect

    Votes: 9 16.4%
  • Other (please comement)

    Votes: 5 9.1%

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