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What's new in IBM Copy Services Manager for FlashSystem!!! New Safeguarded Snapshot and Asynchronous Policy Based Replication Support!

By Randy Blea posted Fri March 29, 2024 10:55 AM


In March 2024 IBM GA'd a new version of IBM Copy Services Manager 

Copy Services Manager Download

IBM Copy Services Manager is a storage replication product that provides a single place to manage all the replication across your IBM storage environment.  With IBM Copy Services Manager customers can simplify the management of their replication solutions while providing disaster recovery and high availability to their applications. 

As always, we're very excited to provide the following key features being released in this new version.  We develop Copy Services Manager in an agile development cycle and as such have included a number of customer requested features!!!

Remote CLI install for Distributed Systems 

  • CSM uses Install Anywhere for installing the server on Distributed Systems.  When you install the server the CSM CLI is installed with it on that same system.  But sometimes customers need the ability to use and run the CSM CLI from a remote server, such as when there may be a common server that executes automation scripts. 
  • In previous releases, placing the CSM CLI on a remote server involved downloading the archive of the CLI and unzipping it to a location on the desired server.  This method is quick, but doesn't easily handle cases like upgrades.  If there were properties set on the CSM CLI this could be lost by the extraction process.
  • Starting with 6.3.10 the Install Anywhere installation file will now cover installing the CLI on remote system.  If you bring up the graphical version of the installer the "Select Installation Type" panel has a new option to "Install CLI Only".  By choosing this option, only the CSM CLI will be installed on the system and not the rest of the CSM code. Future upgrades will use the installer as well.
  • Remote CLI installations on z/OS will not have an installer and will remain a download of a PAX archive.
  • The installer can be run via silent install to install the CLI only as well.  To run the silent install launch the installer with -i silent,  -DLICENSE_ACCEPTED=true and -DCLI_ONLY_INSTALL=true as in the example below.
  • cmd /c csm-setup-6.3.x-win.exe -i silent -DLICENSE_ACCEPTED=true -DCLI_ONLY_INSTALL=true
  • NOTE: Downloads of the archive form of the CSM CLI will no longer be provided.  Customers should download the main installer and choose the Install CLI only option.

Support for FlashSystems Snapshot Restore to Production 

  • While CSM has supported the creation of Snapshots or Safeguarded Snapshots since their release on FlashSystems, the hardware did not yet support the ability to restore a Snapshot back onto to source volumes in the Volume Group. 
  • Starting with CSM 6.3.10, you can now issue the Restore Snapshot to Production command on a Snapshot session and choose either a regular Snapshot or a Safeguarded Snapshot which will be used to restore the source volumes in the Volume Group. 
  • NOTE: This command will overwrite all the data on the source volumes.  It is highly recommended that you limit the use of this command by preventing session Operators from using the command and enabling Dual Control or Safeguarded Copy Dual control on the session.

Support for FlashSystems Snapshot Refresh Thin Clones 

  • The only way to access the data off of a FlashSystem Snapshot is to create a Thin Clone or a full Clone.  This creates a new Volume Group with a set of host accessible volumes. 
  • There are some use cases though where creating a new Thin Clone every time you want to access the data in a Snapshot or Safeguarded Snapshot could be tedious.  For example, if you perform regular automated testing against scheduled Snapshots, or do Cyber Vault testing on a Safeguarded Snapshot, creating a new Thin Clone means you have to attach the hosts to a different set of volumes each time.
  • Starting with CSM 6.3.10, the Snapshot session for FlashSystems now supports the new feature for refreshing an existing thin clone. When you issue the Refresh Thin Clone command on the Snapshot session, you will choose and existing thin clone and then an existing Snapshot or Safeguarded Snapshot.  The Thin Clone you choose will then get updated with the data in the Snapshot that was chosen.  The hosts do not need to attach to a different set of volumes.
  • HINT:  Not only can you schedule the creation of Snapshots and/or Safeguarded Snapshots, but you can now create a CSM Scheduled Task to Refresh Thin Clones.  When the task runs, it will find the last successful Snapshot taken and the last thin clone created, and update the thin clone with the Snapshot data.  This will allow you to always have a thin clone with attached hosts to test it, without the need to find the volume group to use or to attach and reattach hosts!!

Support for FlashSystems Asynchronous Policy Based Replication Recovery Test Mode 

  • Customers running Asynchronous Policy Based Replication on a Volume Group might want to test their recovery procedures so that in the event of a true disaster they are ensured that all their procedures will work.  Doing this traditionally though meant suspending the replication between the source and target making the targets write enabled, so that hosts could connect and test the target volumes.  Once the test completed, the replication could be restarted, but depending on how long the test was running, a lot of updates may have occurred to the sources and it may take awhile to complete resynchronization to get back to a fully protected state.
  • Starting with the CSM 6.3.10 release, if you are managing a Volume Group in CSM that has an Asynchronous Replication policy enabled, you can now enable that Volume Group to enter a Recovery Test Mode (on supported storage system levels).  While in a Recovery Test Mode, the targets become write enabled allowing for testing at the target site, but replication for new updates will continue from the sources to the target site.  Note though...that while replication continues, consistency group formation does not.  This means that there is no disaster protection while in the recovery test mode, however, once the test completes the resynchronization time to get back to a full protected state will be much faster.
  • To enter a Recovery Test Mode issue the Start Recovery Test command on the CSM session.  Prior to entering the recovery mode, the session will take a Snapshot of the targets at the remote site.  This will provide a consistent point the volumes can be restored to in the event of a disaster during the test.  When the session is in the Recovery Test Mode you will notice that the Progress column will indicate that the RPO for the session is increasing.  This is to denote the fact that consistency groups are not forming while in this mode and that if a disaster occurred the time provided would be the last consistent point that the session could be recovered to. 
  • When the testing is complete, issue the Stop Recovery Test on the CSM session.  This will take the Volume Group out of the test mode, delete the Snapshot created prior to entering the mode and then resynchronize the relationships.
  • If an error occurs while in the Recovery Test Mode, a Failover command can be issued to the session. However, this command will indicate that the targets will be recovered to what is considered a diverged copy of the data and would contain any updates to the volumes that occurred during the testing.  Customers can then choose to use the Snapshot at the target to Restore the volumes to a consistent point from before the test, or keep the diverged copy.
  • NOTE: In the future CSM will restore the targets automatically to the snapshot when the storage systems allows for this functionality.  On current release of the storage system (at the time this blog was written) the Volume Group will first have to remove the Asynchronous Replication Policy before attempting to Restore from the Snapshot.

IDEA CSM-I-79 - Support for setting multiple times on Daily/Weekly Scheduled Tasks 

  • Creating a Scheduled Task can be a quite powerful tool in managing your replication environment.  There are a number of options for scheduling these tasks including Hourly, Daily/Weekly or even no schedule at all so that it can be invoked externally or manually. 
  • Starting with the 6.3.10 release though, when you select the Daily/Weekly option, you can now specify multiple times to run that task on the days selected.  This allows for a lot more flexibility for customers that may want a hourly kind of schedule, but do not require it to run every day. 
  • For example, you might only need to run a Scheduled Task that takes a FlashCopy during normal business hours Monday through Friday.  You would select each of the days except Saturday and Sunday and then add times the times you want the task to run such as 8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm.


CSM What’s New Video


Idea/RFE support for Copy Services Manager

If you wish to open a new IDEA (formally called a Request for Enhancement) on IBM Copy Services Manager, you can now do so through the following link.