A leader in the home improvement and automotive industry, Ohio-based Campbell Hausfeld manufactures a variety of products including air tools and accessories, nailers and staplers, paint sprayers, pressure washers, tire safety products, welders, and cordless drills.
Doreen Boyle is the IBM i Systems Administrator for the company, which has 350 users across four facilities. "We are running JD Edwards World software for all of our sales, accounting, and manufacturing. We also host our web server on IBM i (x525 with two processors) using WebSphere and LANSA."
Campbell Hausfeld runs everything lights-out (i.e., fully automated) thanks to the Robot products from HelpSystems, including Robot SCHEDULE for job scheduling and batch management, Robot CONSOLE for message management, Robot ALERT for system event notification, Robot REPLAY for interactive job automation, and Robot SAVE for backup, recovery, and tape management.
Beginning with Backups
To streamline their saves, backups, and audit reporting, Campbell Hausfeld recently implemented Robot SAVE. Before installing Robot SAVE, Campbell Hausfeld backed up their libraries using a standard IBM backup and Robot SCHEDULE with a CL program written by their programmers. In addition, according to Doreen, they used a 3570 tape drive that “couldn’t differentiate between different backups, plus it was slow.” Now, using Robot SAVE and an IBM LTO Ultrium™ LTO3 3581 automated media library, the process is much faster and their backups, system restoration, and save media management have been fully automated.
"The audit and restoration reports generated by Robot SAVE make yearly audits go more smoothly. We can simply generate a report and say, 'here is our backup plan'."
“Another good thing about Robot SAVE,” continued Doreen, “is that we can use the Restricted State Utility (RSU) to do our quarterly full system backups, and nobody has to be here.” In fact, Campbell Hausfeld runs their restricted state saves totally unattended. If there are issues while the Restricted State Utility is running, Robot SAVE notifies the on-call operator using Robot ALERT.
“In the past, no one was here if we had a save problem,” added Larry Rude, Campbell Hausfeld’s IT director. “Then, on Monday morning, we had to decide whether to keep everybody off the system and fix it or do without the save for a day. We prefer not to do without the save tape, but sometimes in the past it happened.” With Robot SAVE, the company can avoid these dilemmas because of the constant pulse on the backup.
By integrating Robot SAVE with Robot SCHEDULE, Campbell Hausfeld has been able to schedule all their nightly, weekly, monthly, and quarterly backups. According to Doreen, they back up production and non-production libraries on a nightly basis and, on a weekly basis,“we do just short of a full system save, backing up libraries, IBM libraries, Robot libraries, user libraries, and production and non-production libraries.”
Assisting with Audits
Doreen describes their nightly processing routine: “We use save-while-active so we don’t lose any time. We kick off our nightly processing at 11:30 every night. Our EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is sent to different places at different times, so we built in an hour and a half delay. Then we kick off our backup. It takes a snapshot and when that snapshot is complete, the processing starts. We don’t let the users back on until all the processing is done, usually at 4:30 in the morning.”
The snapshot triggers the system to begin the rest of the nightly processing using OPAL (OPerator Assistance Language) in Robot CONSOLE. Doreen confirms that they have integrated Robot CONSOLE, Robot ALERT, and Robot SCHEDULE primarily around their backups.
Doreen reviews the Robot SAVE audit and restoration reports every morning to make sure everything was backed up properly. “If there’s a problem, I fix it. Sometimes a library has been deleted from the system, and we need to remove it from Robot SAVE. I put those in a folder, and save them for about a month, just in case the auditors want to look at them.”
Larry, the IT director, notes that they have corporate audits every year, with a detailed audit every other year. He confirms that the audit and restoration reports generated by Robot SAVE make these audits go more smoothly. According to Larry, one of the benefits Robot SAVE brings is that they can simply generate a report and say “here is our restoration plan.”
Recovering the Data
Equally as important as backing up their system is the ability to recover the data. Luckily, Campbell Hausfeld has never had to do a full system restoration, but Larry points out that they have done a total restore for disaster recovery purposes on five occasions. Every time the tapes were certified as restorable. According to Doreen, the company was able to integrate Robot SAVE with Robot SCHEDULE, Robot ALERT, and Robot CONSOLE with just the help of one programmer. “Once you get the feel of the Robot products, setting things up is not that difficult. One person can monitor and keep them up. Once we set them up, we just kind of forget about them because they do run smoothly. Robot SAVE is a quality product.”
Doreen adds that HelpSystems sent an instructor to help train them on Robot SCHEDULE and Robot SAVE. “The rest of the products, like Robot CONSOLE and Robot ALERT, we just read the manuals and picked it up on our own. If we had any questions or ran into problems, the technical support at HelpSystems is excellent, so there is no problem there.”
When it comes to operations, Robot SAVE is an elite power tool. According to Larry, “It works, it’s steady, and if there’s any problem, we get excellent support. We investigated multiple products—HelpSystems was the best. It may cost a little bit more, but we felt the investment was well worth it—and it has been.” Just like a quality power tool—you get what you pay for.