REVIEWER: Steve Stewart, database technical analyst for Total System Services, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Based in Columbus, Georgia, Total System Services, Inc. (TSYS) is among the world's largest outsourced payment services companies, offering a broad range of issuer and acquirer processing technologies that support consumer finance, credit, debit and prepaid services for financial institutions and retail companies.PLATFORMS: IBM mainframe processor - MVS/ESA.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Data is housed in IMS Fast Path databases at TSYS for various financial services and retail clients. BMC Software's Backup and Recovery Solutions for IMS - Image Copy, Change Accumulation, Recovery and Recovery Manager Utilities - assist in meeting stringent data backup and recovery requirements in a timely and efficient manner. Using BMC's Backup and Recovery Solutions for IMS in conjunction with a TSYS directive that put all elements necessary to recover an IMS database environment on DASD (image copies, logs, etc.) resulted in a substantial reduction in the amount of time necessary to recover IMS database environments at TSYS. A dramatic improvement in backup and recovery job runtimes (from 18 hours to 6 hours) has many direct and indirect benefits for TSYS including, but not limited to, staffing for disaster recovery (DR) drills, fewer errors due to fatigue, much faster and simpler in-house recoveries and less contention for resources.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: BMC's solutions allow TSYS to back up, accumulate changes and recover databases via DBRC defined change accumulation groups.  Product keywords allow the user to control the degree of asynchronous processing that occurs during database image copy, change accumulation and recovery processing. Assuming necessary resources are available, this feature can potentially reduce the time necessary to complete the desired function exponentially. For example, the Image Copy and Recovery products allow the user to back up or recover multiple database data sets in parallel, while Change Accumulation permits simultaneous processing of input recovery log data sets (RLDSs) and/or system log data sets (SLDSs) up to the value specified for the associated product keyword. These products fully support dynamic data set allocation. This prevents having to code "monster JCL" when processing a large number of database data sets. The backup and recovery products from BMC allow the integration of other BMC products.

STRENGTHS: Performance, flexibility and ease of use are the strengths of the solution. Backup and recovery processes at TSYS are no longer limited by the serial nature of tape technology, except when performing mass dumps or restores of these elements for DR purposes.

WEAKNESSES: Some functionality provided by Recovery Manager requires the creation of "elemental groups" in a separate repository data set. Utilizing this functionality may require keeping change accumulation and/or DBDS groups in sync between the IMS RECON data sets and the Recovery Manager repository. Internal testing, especially volume testing, prior to the availability of new releases could be improved.

SELECTION CRITERIA: BMC's Backup and Recovery Solutions for IMS databases have been the gold standard in use at TSYS since the creation of our first IMS database environment. To my knowledge, there are no other comparable products that provide the functionality necessary to meet TSYS' requirements regarding backup and recovery of IMS database assets.

DELIVERABLES: For database recoveries, these solutions produce IMS database data sets as they existed at the specified recovery point in time (PIT). Additionally, the recovery PIT can be any valid date/timestamp, not just the point in time of a de-allocation, system checkpoint or log switch. For IMS database backups, IBM compatible image copy data sets are created. These can be either batch or online ("fuzzy") image copies.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Technical support has always been excellent.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation for BMC's IMS solutions is generally very good. It would be helpful, however, if examples of more sophisticated uses of the utilities were provided in the documentation as well.

BMC Software's Backup and Recovery Solutions for IMS
BMC Software, Inc.
2101 City West Boulevard
Houston, TX 77042-2827
(713) 918-8800

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