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Use mainframes for backups

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John Hunter, senior systems programmer at Sigma-Aldrich Corp., St. Louis, MO, uses the mainframe to back up data. "By using FDR/Upstream/SOS, we were able to consolidate our entire Oracle, Windows, Unix, Novell and Domino backups," he says. "Administrators for each platform install a client, and our mainframe manages scheduling and tape management, giving us a backup solution with a single point of control."

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Mainframe backs up all data
However, there are potential downsides to handing off open-systems backups to big iron and tying all the enterprise's back up to a centralized, high-cost solution. For the mainframe to successfully back up open-systems-based applications, there needs to be a high level of coordination and communication between staffers from both camps. As a result of isolated responsibilities and differences in the way the two groups view storage, in many companies the communication between mainframe and open-systems personnel isn't very good. It also takes a great deal of time to set up a mainframe backup process for the entire enterprise storage environment, although some would argue that it's simpler to set up and run than having, for example, three backup packages, three types of media and different procedures. Of course, mainframe backup costs more than open-systems backup; however, depending on how total cost of ownership is calculated, mainframe backup could save money if critical data and apps are more quickly restored.

This was first published in November 2005

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