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April 1999
Multiplatform backup choices expand

Software developer uses HIBACK TX to backup 3000s, Unix, NT and more

In the test labs of a software firm with a long history in the HP 3000 community, a backup application lets HP 3000 systems participate in a network that includes Unix systems and NT servers.
Dynamic Information Systems Corp. (DISC) makes the Omnidex database-indexing software for HP 3000s — and a broad range of other enterprise systems. Omnidex and its related products operate on HP 9000 systems, Windows NT servers, and Unix systems from IBM, Sequent, Digital and Sun. Each type of server is installed at the DISC labs, including a pair of HP 3000s running the 5.5 and 6.0 versions of MPE/iX.

In such a diverse environment, a single backup product that operates over a network is the easiest way to administer backups, according to system administrator Steve Selby. The requirements fit well with the capabilities of HIBACK TX.

DISC and HIBACK TX’s supplier Hi-Comp America (281.288.7438) have a long association, and DISC didn’t pay full list for the HIBACK product. But Selby’s perspective on the product is strictly from an administrator’s view. HIBACK backs up everything in the DISC computer room, including MPE/iX servers working on administration tasks for the company.

“We have such a wide variety of platforms that we back up and restore that it’s nice to have some commonality between them,” Selby said. Selby uses the product’s HIBARS tool, a module with a graphical user interface (GUI) running on a Windows client, to control and administer backup tasks. An HP 9000 Series 735 workstation holds the small database of metadata for the network’s backups. Any system in the network can be a client or a server for backups. This permits HP 3000 systems to be backed up to high-speed, high-capacity devices not supported under MPE.

“We back up our systems to whatever device is available, without worrying about whether it’s an NT we’re coming from, MPE, or another Unix platform,” Selby said.

Even in the event of a failure on the Unix metadata controller, DISC would be able to execute backups and restores, Selby said. “The thing I really like about HIBACK is that if the GUI crashes, you can go back to command line interface for everything. Being a Unix junkie, I’m real comfortable with restoring from the command line.”

Backups at DISC are large affairs. Omnidex is software used on some of the HP 3000 community’s largest datasets, so test databases commonly run into the dozens of gigabytes. The largest system at DISC has 210Gb of storage and requires a DLT tape to accept even its incremental backups. MPE systems have 14Gb each. Weekly backups at DISC using HIBACK TX total 275Gb a week, backed up to DLT4000 and DDS-2 devices across the network.

“It compresses the data before it sends it across the network, which is real helpful,” Selby said. “Other solutions that I’ve read about compress it once it gets to the backup machine, which can put a heavy load on the network. We’ve seen a backup rate across the network as high as 5Gb per hour, and it fits well with our time window to backup the systems.”

HIBACK TX supports HP 3000s running under MPE/iX 5.5 in its latest version. A downloadable demo, including the HIBARS graphical interface, is available from the Hi-Comp Web site.

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