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October 15, 2018

This article will look at the features and capabilities of IBM Copy Services Manager. This powerful software configures, manages, and monitors data-copy functions used by storage systems. As a group, these functions are known as copy services.

Created in concert with IBM Z Systems Mainframes, Copy Services Manager is a flexible, secure, and performance-driven storage solution.

There is a difference between Copy Services Manager and IBM Copy Services. IBM Copy Services allows for FlashCopy, global mirror, metro mirror.

Copy Services Manager is a licensed product that gives you the GUI interface to manage global mirror and metro mirror.

Copy Services Manager is a suite of tools that can:

  • Provide disaster recovery and high availability for multiple sites.
  • Automate consistency checks and other command-line functions.
  • Create 1-minute backups and perform 1-second consistency checks.

The services available with Copy Services Manager include: IBM Copy services

IBM FlashCopy: This function gives you the ability to create point-in-time copies of logical volumes. FlashCopy uses consistency groups, which enables you to copy multiple volumes at the same instance. FlashCopy can copy a 2.8 gig volume in 1 minute. In other words, you can create a full backup of your environment in a minute.

Metro Mirror and Global Mirror: These two types of copy services give you the ability to create synchronous and asynchronous copies of volumes to back up, migrate, and recover data in block volumes.

Metro Mirror provides a synchronous, continuous mirror of one volume to a second volume. These systems can be up to 150 miles apart, which gives you the ability to create off-site backups. The mirrors are updated in real time. If a failure ever occurs, you will lose zero data.

Global Mirror is a copy service much like Metro Mirror, but it is engineered with key differences that allow you to provide near-instantaneous backups over long distances. Both copy services offer a continuous mirror of a primary volume to a second. However, the copy provided by Global Mirror is asynchronous. This feature helps to boost performance, but you could lose some data (less than one second) if a failure occurs. Global Mirror is ideal as a backup and recovery option for sites that are more than 150 miles apart.

Multicycling Global Mirror can replicate data while adjusting to accommodate bandwidth limitations. However, you might lose a few minutes of data if a failure occurs.

Metro Global Mirror combines the capabilities of both Global Mirror asynchronous copy and Metro Mirror synchronous copy into a single session. It operates between three sites, which are varying distances away from each other, and combines the synchronous and asynchronous copies.

The Benefits of Copy Services Manager

Although there is a command-line interface, the GUI is intuitive, is easy to set up, and offers automation features that improve accuracy and save time. For example, the software automates consistency checks. No more time-consuming manual searches for inconsistencies.

The system can run backward consistency checks and maintain consistency groups. Depending on storage configuration and other factors, these groups can maintain a 1-second consistency. In other words, if there is ever a failure, you will only lose 1 second of data.

Extent Space Efficient

IBM Copy Services manages space on an extent basis. As writes occur, the physical space is removed from an extent pool. This is a more space-efficient method than earlier track-space management methods, which used pre-defined spaces. If a track space is partially filled with data, the system will view it as full. This can lead to space inefficiencies.

With extent space, the entire pool is managed by the controller, and all space is used, which reduces the possibility of overprovisioning storage.

Thin Provision Everything

With the features and functions of Copy Services Manager, it’s possible to thin provision your whole environment. For end users, the environment will look the same. The only thing they will notice is the improvement in application performance.

Copy Services Manager opens a wide variety of storage and recovery options. The software is specifically engineered to work with IBM Z Systems Mainframes. In our next article, we’ll examine the features and functions of the z14 ZR1. Plus, we’ll show you how Copy Services Manager and the z14 ZR1 work together to provide unparalleled security and performance.

All IBM Copy Services are available through a single license. The Copy Services Manager GUI is available through a separate license.

If you want to learn more about Copy Services Manager or IBM Copy Services or explore the possibilities for your storage environment, reach out to one of our storage experts.