Cactus International and Lone Star Software have been well know to OpenServer administrators for their excellent Lone-Tar and Air-Bag utilities. Now, both are available for UnixWare. Air-Bag is a disaster recovery system that allows you to use floppies or other removable media to recover from a critical system crash. Lone-Tar is a backup and restore utility that works with practically any media and device. We’ve grouped both Lone-Tar and Air-Bag for UnixWare together in this First Look, although they are available separately.

Air-Bag is almost a mandatory part of any administrator’s toolbox, at least for those of us who manage many systems and hate reloading everything from scratch. After a severe system crash (one where the operating system won’t load) all you need to restart and reload the UnixWare server is an Air-Bag diskette and a recent backup of the filesystem. The Air-Bag diskette provides a mini operating systems environment with drivers to access the disk subsystems and backup media device (usually a tape drive). After the system crashes, insert the Air-Bag diskette, boot from the diskette, and follow the prompts.

It really can be that simple. A recent system crash on our test UnixWare 7.1 system proves it (after we loaded some new disk drivers that corrupted the operating system and boot partition). Before we crashed the system we had created our Air-Bag recovery diskette and continued our daily incremental backup schedule to an HP DAT drive. After the crash, we booted from the Air-Bag diskette, inserted the SCSI card driver diskette when prompted, and then fed the full backup tape and latest incrementals when asked, and three hours later our system was fully operating again with no lost data.

The UnixWare version of Air-Bag has lots of extra features that allow you to tailor your recovery process. It supports all three BTLD formats, as well as the UnixWare HBA drivers disk. Air-Bag has a mini Device Control Unit that allows for on-the-fly setting of IRQs, DMAs, and memory addresses (so you can get your devices back on line). And a really neat feature: you can dump the diskette drives and create a bootable CD-ROM (assuming your BIOS allows CD booting). The menu-driven interface is improved over the older OpenServer Air-Bag version we had on hand, and there’s a ton of new features specifically tailored to UnixWare. For complete details, you should check the Cactus Web home page.

Lone-Tar is the quintessential third-party backup and restore utility. Lone-Tar has been around for a decade now, and has a legion of dedicated fans. Version 3.2 (for both UnixWare and OpenServer) adds some new features all in the same easy-to-use menu-driven interface. The fast seek feature we raved about in an earlier Lone-Tar First Look is available for UnixWare and makes all the backup and restore tasks a joy. System administrators have a choice of several backup utilities these days, but we still find Lone-Tar to be one of the cleanest most capable systems we have used. UnixWare administrators can now have the best two utilities from Cactus, and that’s something to be glad about.

Cactus International
Lone Star Software
Air-Bag 4.1 $185
Lone-Tar 3.2 $285
509 E Ridgeville Blvd
Mt. Airy
Maryland 21771
301-829-1623 fax

Summary: The excellent Cactus Air-Bag and Lone Star Lone-Tar utilities of OpenServer fame are finally available for UnixWare. Quintessential administration tools!