AIX mksysb: Here’s Something Even Better

AIX backup software

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AIX mksysb: Here’s Something Even Better

AIX backup software

Love AIX mksysb? Here’s How to Improve Your Protection with Less Work.

It’s alarming each time we hear that some AIX system administrators aren’t doing full-system backup. If you’re not backing up your applications and your operating system, you’re leaving your business vulnerable to extended downtime.

If you’re like most sysadmins, you’ll probably say, “We’re OK—I use AIX mksysb to back up everything.”

We can certainly see why you love mksysb so much. It’s a tremendous backup utility.

But as we explained in our last article, AIX mksysb may not be backing up absolutely everything you need. And this fantastic utility may be costing you more than you think in manpower. So, there’s a tradeoff involved here.

The bottom line here is that if you’re knowledgeable and conscientious enough to be using AIX mksysb as part of a thorough backup strategy, it behooves you to stop every now and then and reevaluate whether another approach could deliver even better protection with less effort.

Does Your AIX Backup Strategy Have These Gaps?

A hardworking IT team can piece together a complete AIX backup process using multiple solutions and scripts. But it will be a labor-intensive activity—and the more moving parts you have, the greater the chances that something will eventually break.

Many systems administrators will use AIX mksysb for backing up the operating system (though, as we’ve discussed, this utility only backs up the root volume group). To manage the process and move files around, they’ll write and maintain a series of scripts. They may also use a separate solution to back up data.

You and your team may very well have this whole process down to a science—but you could still find yourself with some gaps. For example, mksysb won’t back up your storage configuration for other volume groups beyond the root. These other volume groups contain the data, so you’ll have to recreate them along with the logical volumes and file systems. In other words, AIX mksysb restores the operating system portion of your environment, but you’ll still have to rebuild the rest. You may be used to this by now, but consider the time and effort involved.

Also, keep in mind that mksysb operates at the box level. If you’re running 10 servers, you’ll need to manage 10 versions of mksysb. This is doable, but how much time could you save if all the processes we’ve described here were automated? And how much potential human error could you eliminate?

One more point: as we’ve explained previously, AIX mksysb was originally written to be used on tape backup systems. Sure, you can still use it for disk or network backup, but you won’t get any features to help you with backup management. Remember back in the tape days how you could simply label your tapes and file them in a cabinet? In some ways, that was easier than what we’re doing now. Today, if you run mksysb, you’ll need to keep track of where that backup is stored and have an easy way to copy it to wherever it needs to go on the network.

How to Go Beyond mksysb for Complete Disaster Recovery

Again, none of the above is meant to imply that AIX mksysb isn’t an indispensable utility for AIX sysadmins. Quite the contrary. But you’ve probably noticed how much care and feeding it requires. The best way to streamline this work is to use a backup solution that not only backs up your entire system—including OS—but also provides the automation, scheduling, retention and removal, and reporting features you need to run your backups as efficiently as possible.

That solution is Storix SBAdmin—the only system on the market that offers complete, file-based backup for AIX. To learn more, visit us online, or speak with one of our disaster recovery experts at (877) 786-7491.