Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Update & iSeries Tape Density Question - INZTAP

It’s been awhile since I have posted anything and I sure wish I would get in the habit of posting daily. I have been deeply involved in the Stanford CS106A course which has me intrigued. Also, the job market has been heating up and keeping me busy.

I hope to start a contract job tomorrow but have not heard back from the customer. The customer is waiting for a PC based distribution planning software to be installed by the vendor.

I also have a face to face interview scheduled next Wednesday for a full time EDI developer position with a big distribution company. The company has big challenges that promise to keep me busy for some time to come. I am really hopeful that I get the position and have the opportunity increase my EDI, customer relations and programming skills. Who knows, this may be the home I have been looking for.

So, moving on, Jason , the IT Manager at my previous position and good friend, called me on Google with some questions relating to a failing iSeries backup process. He tracked down an error specifying that the tape density is incorrect and the save is being skipped.

I had recently helped him upgrade the iSeries to a new E4B with a LTO-4 tape drive. In our conversations we had decided that he is going to use LTO-4 tapes, I never gave it a second thought. 

When Jason went to purchase tapes he realized that LTO-3 tapes are cheaper. He uses LTO-3 with his Microsoft servers which are connected to an external drive. So instead of LTO-4 tapes for the iSeries, he purchased LTO-3 so he could use them interchangeably. That makes perfect sense since the capacity for the LTO-3 exceeds the total disk on the iSeries.

I originally hired Jason as the Network Administrator at Pylon Manufacturing. Jason had never worked on an iSeries but he is a smart person and he picked up bits and pieces very quickly. When I moved on to NanjingUSA he assumed all my EDI responsibilities as well as some of the iSeries tasks. 

I left Pylon with a pretty much automated EDI system and the Iseries ran itself with minor administration. Jason's focus was new EDI, Network Administration and wiper blade database administration.

When I moved to Jacksonville I managed to get Jason to leave Pylon and take over my position at NanjingUSA. Pylon has since closed the Florida distribution and moved the operation to Indiana.   

Long story short, I showed him how to initialize tapes but never had to go into the details since the defaults were all that were ever needed. The backup processes were fully automated which included initialization so all he had to do was switch out tapes every morning.

His question is why can’t the iSeries use the LTO-3 tapes in the LTO-4 drive? He then stated Windows could use either tape so why can’t the Iseries.

After a brief second or two I told him if Windows can do it so can the iSeries and better!

I then had him open up the source code for the backup program and change the parameter for the INZTAP command Tape Density from *DEVTYPE to *CTGTYPE, problem solved. Now he can use either LTO-4 or LTO-3.

I should have done a better job and captured the exact message for the E-mail. Next time I will.


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