Planning a Vacation

Are you counting the days until your next vacation? You know the one you’ve been promising your family for years, but never felt comfortable taking because there was nobody at the office to handle any problems?

How well is your system documented? The odds say eventually you will experience a disk failure. Are you prepared for a disk failure? A network disruption? What happens if you are not available?

Don’t think that you are immune because you are on a disk array. SCSI controller failures and cable problems are still possible. A well documented system can get you back up and running swiftly. You can also be confident when taking that summer vacation this year that a hardware failure will not interrupt your rest and relaxation.

Here are some suggestions to make sure your organization is prepared for the inevitable hardware failure and subsequent recovery procedure:

  • Keep a printed configuration listing handy. At a minimum this should include such things as a device and path listing from SYSGEN that cannot be produced if the system cannot be started. Other helpful items would be a DSTAT ALL or DISCFREE C listing to identify which disks are in which volume sets.
  • On the console, clearly document the hardware addresses of the primary boot path (LDEV 1) and the alternate boot path, typically LDEV 7 but not necessarily. This information is stored on the processor and could easily be lost if a processor is replaced.
  • Clearly identify/label your hardware. Label all disk drives, tape drives, and printers with their respective LDEV number and hardware path. Network printers should have their TCP/IP address instead of hardware path. Serial printers should have DTC name, card, port number, any relevent cable number, and patch panel port labeled. Furthermore, document the RS-232 settings for the printer including baud rate and parity. For disk arrays label all hardware paths connected to the array. Print the internal configuration of the array (how the LUNS are laid out) and keep it with your system configuration list. JetDirect boxes and other print servers should have their TCP/IP address labeled.
  • Document system startup and shutdown procedures. Include a list of background jobs that should always be running and how to start them. A :SHOWJOB JOB=@J;EXEC Also document how to shut them down gracefully.
  • Place a working phone within reach of the console. Clearly label the direct phone number and/or the switchboard phone number and extension. In a pinch, you can connect a standard analog phone to the “phone” port of a dialup modem to provide these capabilities. Cell phones and wireless phones may interfere with wireless LANs and other electronic equipment.
  • If your system has a key to control the power and lock/unlock the console, such as 922/932/948/958 systems and 9×9/KS systems, be sure someone knows where the key is placed.
  • Always keep a current system load tape (SLT) on hand. Some people will refer to this as a CSLT (customized SLT.)
  • Your backup methodology should be recorded. Are daily backups full or partial? TurboStore or a purchased third party backup product? Online? Include the ;DIRECTORY option on all backups.
  • Include a network diagram in your configuration folder. This should include IP addresses and physical topology of servers, routers, hubs, switches and firewalls. This should also contain Circuit IDs for leased data lines and the contact number for the service provider (AT&T, Sprint, etc.)
  • Contact information for Beechglen, application vendors, and hardware service providers should be kept on file. I recommend you place our contact information directly on the console.

Before leaving for vacation be sure to leave your configuration packet where it can be easily found. Remind your staff to call the Beechglen support team if they have any system issues or problems while you are gone. And most important of all, enjoy that vacation!

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