IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) Interview Question and Answers



Check the scheduler Service is running or not?
                                Windows   -           Start > run > services.msc > check the TSM SCHEDULER
                                UNIX       -            ps -ef | grep dsmc


TSM Daily Activities:
1.       Checking the completion of Client and Admin Backup schedules by q event * * command.
2.     If some error happen to appear or any schedule is missed or failed analyze the Client logs and TSM activity log.
3.       Checking in and Checking out the Volumes i.e. Media management
4.       Sending the Volumes offsite if DR is implemented.
5.       Restoring the data if requests come from the clients.
6.       General TSM server health checking likes DB, Recovery log space and Storage pool space.
7.       Analyzing the Report generated by TSM.
8.       Deploying new clients.


1. What are daily activities on TSM?
 Check DB & recovery log, Volume management etc. explained earlier.
2. If your DBSPACE is full then what you will do?
 Add database volumes by the command line as TSM server will not work if     DB is full.
3.  What is maximum size of recovery log?
 20 GB in TSM 5.3
4. What are the Primary and Secondary Storage Pool in your environment?
 Explain the Disk Pool and Tape Pools        
5. What are the storage devices you have worked on?
 Library IBM 3584, 3582   etc.
6. What is Reclamation?
It is the process of moving the fragment data from one or more volumes to a different volume, so that the volumes being reclaimed can be used as scratch volumes in TSM again. By using this technique we can save a lot of space in TSM. This process is controlled by reclaim threshold parameter of the storage pool.
7. What is collocation and advantages of it?
 Storing data of a client at minimal volumes. This will help in faster restores as less media mounts will be required during restore.
8. Tell Something on Migration?
 Transferring data from disk to tape pool.
9. What kind of tape library is attached to your TSM server?
 IBM 3584


10. Can you brief your responsibilities on TSM and daily activities?
 Check Schedule, DB & Recover log, managing volumes. Explained earlier
11. Tell about media management you are doing?
 Preparing volumes. Labeling. Checkin, check out etc.
12. How you will prepare scratch volume?
 label libvol volumename
13. What is difference in between label and checkin?
 Labeling is naming vol. check in is inserting the vol to slot.
14. What exactly the role of recovery log?
 Storing the transaction, which is not committed to DB and are, required for consistency of TSM DB.
15. What is the difference in between dsm.opt and dsm.sys file?
Dsm.opt file is the client file which contains the tsmservername pointing to dsm.sys.
Dsm.sys normally used in UNIX environment contains the server stanzas and the parameters like node name, management class and password access options.


16. Can you brief your activity on TSM?
 Monitoring Schedules, DB and Recovery Log etc. Already explained
17. What are the file lookouts if TSM server crashes?
18. How you will check DR Media?
Move drmedia command is used
19. What is primary storage pool and secondary storage pool?
 Disk pool, Tape pool.
20. How many frames are there in your environment?
 No answer.
21. Which library you are using?
 IBM 3584
22. What is primary storage pool and secondary storage pool in your environment?
 Disk storage pool, Tape storage pool


23. What is prole process (TSM)?
 Background process in TDP for hardware. (TDP for ESS)
25. What are various types of backups?
Full, incremental, differential
26. What is the difference between backup an archive?
 backup is for short period storage and where as archive is for long term storing your dat Backup is having versions archive does not have versions and backup is full, incremental, differential where as archive is as it is snapshot.
27. What is the difference between active and inactive file (TSM)
 Inactive, which not latest backup. Active which is latest backup
28. How will you take backup in TSM?
 dsmc i or dsmc sel
29. What are various server configuration files?
dsmserv.opt, volhist.out, devconfig.out, dsmserv.dsk 
30. What is the mode of backup in your TSM?

31. How to check the version of TSM?
q status, q system
32. Which command is used to check the backup status in TSM
q event* *
33. Which are TSM configuration files?
dsmserv.opt, dsmserv.dsk,volhist.out, devconfig.out
34. How will you check password from TSM client?

35. How will you change password of TSM server?
set serverpassword *****
36. How will you identify which level of backup taken?
dsmc backup query
37. Suppose I have to take full backup on Friday and then Friday to Thursday incremental and then full backup?
will be scheduled in crontab
38. Which are the systems eligible for incremental backup?
home directory of all users. (Which are frequently changed?)



36. Which TSM version you have worked on? and

37. Can you tell types of schedule?
Admin and Client schedules
38. How you will add a node in TSM?

39. How you link or associate that node to a schedule?

40. How you will identify about whether node has been associated with schedule?

41. How you will check a node has been associated?

42. If you have 50 nodes then how you will see association?

43. Will it show client schedule?

44. Hierarchy of TSM component?

45. How many management classes can be specified in a policy set?

46. What do you mean by reclamation?

47. Suppose I have set a reclamation threshold to 80% then how much data should be there to start the reclamation process?

48. What is migration?

49. How you will do migration?

50. What is the significance of hi and low Mig?

51. Default port of TSM client?

51. How you will extend database size?

52. The TSM resource to limit the No of migration process?

53. How many migration can be started at a time?

54. How you will define library?

55. Where do you define the retention parameter?

56. What do you mean by ret only?

57. I want to keep the 6 versions of the file which is available on the client machine, file is deleted from client machine, I want to to retain the last backedup version  copy for 60 Days, what will be parameter for retonly and other parameter?

58. What do you mean by version deleted?

59. Suppose I have created a file on Monday 9AM and backup taken at 9 PM as per schedule. Again 9 am there is change in file and 9PM on Tuesday also backup taken. On Wednesday 9AM file got deleted and backup taken at 9 PM. Again backup taken at 9 PM on Thursday. On Friday manager wants to store the file through the backup taken on Monday. Can he store the file  if the  parameter set for policy are. Or what parameter you will change if required?
Version exist-6,Retonly-60,Ret extra-60,Version deleted-1?

60. Suppose you get a call to restore 100GB data, what you will do as TSM Administrator to make data restoration faster?

61. Have you heard include or exclude file. Will it go from bottom to up or top to bottom?

62. What are information managed by TSM database?

63. You have started TSM server in background, can I put data in file?

64. What are two modes for recovery log?

65.What is the difference of roll forward and normal mode?

66. In which mode you will require more space?

67. If you have 2 AIX server and one library attached, can both server use same library, how?

68. I have TSM server1 and TSM server2. Library is attached with Server1, what action you will take on server2 so that both server can use library?

69. Have you worked on NDMP or TDP?

70. What TDP allows to do?

71. How you will find server version of TSM server?

72. If customer tells you to take archive data and make name as archive1, can you name archive1 as label. After one month customer comes and says again archive data in archive1?

73. If you can label then how you will label?


74. Explain TSM architecture?

75. How you will find path?

76. How you will see the path?

77. How you will see device status?

78. What information has devcfg.out?

79. Can a node be defined in the two policy domain even after node name different?

80. How you can send your data in a management class other than default management class? What entry I have to make?

1) What are the server configuration files? Explain in detail?
dsmserv.opt, dsmserv.dsk, devconfig.out, volhist.out
dsmserv.opt: All the server configuration Information     
dsmserv.dsk: All db, log volumes paths
devconfig.out: All device configuration information like device class, drives
configuration info.          
volhist.out: All sequential volumes information.
2) What is Reclamation, Migration? How will you do it manually?
Reclamation: It is the process moving the active data from fragmented volumes to single or few no of volumes. It makes the fragmented volumes reusable.
Command: Reclaim stg poolname threshold=number
duration=minutes offsitereclaimimit=no of volumes
Migration:This is used to migrate files from one stgpool to the next storage pool
Command: Migrate stgpool poolname lowmig=number duration=minutes reclaim=yes/no.               
3) Mention the reasons for migration fail?
If there is no volumes in the nextstgpool or if any mig delay parameter is mentioned migration effects
4) Have you ever implemented new TSM server? What is the process?
NO but i know the complete procedure and you have to say  about  complete structure like Installing tsm server,   creating stgpools, defining policymgmt,  
5) What is the procedure to take backup from new Backup/Archive client?
First specify  the nodename in the newly installed  client  dsm.opt, 
login to the client and take the backup what u want
6) Is there any other process other than show logpin?
What ever the action performed in the server is process  and show log pin is one of it 
7) How will you configure schedule in client?
By using command  def schedule domname schedname  ty=c  action=incre   startt=      startd=   duration=   durunits=……
8) What will you do when Volumes went offline?
first  i will  check in the  activity  log  what is the reason  and i will manually  update  the access to online
update volume  volume name  access= online
9) How will you do the restore to a client system if you have access?
Restore path
Restore path –pick (To restore a particular file)
10) What is the maximum size of recovery log?
13 GB
11) What will you do if recovery log reaches 98%?
Issue show logpin command and cancel all the inactive processes that are pinning the log.
12) How many Servers & Clients do you have in your company?
8 servers, 1500 clients.
13) What are your Daily activities?
Health check of TSM servers.
Checking schedule status, if any missed or failed schedules resolving the problem.
14) Mention any other commands other than q db, q log?
Using SELECT commands we can do
15) What are the parameters in copygroup?
verexit, verdelete, retextra, retonly, retver
16) How will you configure schedule in client?
dsmc util install shedname: “ shedname “
/node= nodename
/client directory= “c:\programesfiles\tivoli\tsm\baclient”
/client opt : “c:\programesfiles\tivoli\tsm\baclient\dsm.opt”
/auto start :yes
17) What is command to take DB Backup?
Backup DB devc=deviceclass type=full/incremental/snapshot
18) Do you have idea about Exchange, TDP oracle, TDP SQL?
Yes I know about TDP SQL
19) How will you take scheduling backup in TDP SQL?
define shed domainname shedname action= command object=”c:\sqlfull.cmd” startday=” “ starttime=” “  duration=” “ durationunits=min
20) What type of library model you are using?
3582 MODEL
21) How many drives do you have?
22) What is the model of the tape you are using? What is its size?
Size: 400 GB, when compressed 800 GB
23) What will you do when drives went offline?

24) Is you library is shared? How you shared it?
Define library library_name library type= manual/scsi/349x autolabel=yes/no shared=             yes / no
25) Is your library is logically shared or physically shared?
Logically shared
26) If logically shared is all drives accessible to all servers?
27) How will you checkin & Checkout volumes in library?
checkin libvolume library_name volume_name search=no/yes/bulk status=private/scratch
Checkout libvolume library_name volume_name remove=bulk/yes/no
28) What is DRM?
DRM (Disaster Recovery Manager) if any thing happen TSM server then we need to restore the TSM server for that purpose we need to use DRM
Backup of the primary storage pool to copy storage pool
Backup the TSM data base
Move DR Media status
Run the prepare command
Transport the DR media offsite
Return empty media from offsite
DRM life cycle:-
Mountable:- it is valid data
Non mountable:- it is valid data can’t be access
Courier:- ready to transfer
Vault: - it is offsite
Retrieve vault:-return to offsite to onsite
Courier retrieve:- transfer from onsite
Onsite retrieve:- it is in onsite
29) How will you move copy storage pools to offsite in DRM?
Move drmedia medianame where state=courier  tostate=vault
30) lanfree backup
if the data to be transferred more then 150GB then we use in lanfree backup
LAN free backup steps:-
Install TSM sever in SAN environment with library
Configure library in shared mode (def lib shared=yes)
We have to install storage agent software in Client machine .then we act as a server
Then we have to register the storage agent as server in TSM server
Def server storage agent server serverpassword= ** hla= IP address lla= port no.,
Configuration files:- DSMSTOPT ,   DSMCONFIG.OUT,     DSM.SYS/OPT

How to configure TDP Oracle?                                                                                                                     
What are TDP Oracle Agent Utilities?
Tdpoconf:   The tdpoconf utility is used for password maintenance and general Data Protection for Oracle setup and maintenance.
Tdposync: Use the tdposync utility to delete the Oracle backups on the Tivoli Storage Manager server which are not in the RMAN catalog. By thus removing unwanted objects in Tivoli Storage Manager storage, you can reclaim space on the server. This utility allows you to repair such discrepancies between the Tivoli Storage Manager Server and the RMAN catalog.
How to update the TDP Oracle node password?   
tdpoconf password                                                                                                         
What are important configuration files?    
tdpoconf.cfg, dsm.opt, dsm.sys                                                                                                  
What is SBT_TAPE in RMAN backup?           
device type                                                                                                       
What is the use of TDPOSYNC?      
Use the tdposync utility to delete the Oracle backups on the Tivoli Storage Manager server which are not in the RMAN catalog. By thus removing unwanted objects in Tivoli Storage Manager storage, you can reclaim space on the server. This utility allows you to repair such discrepancies between the Tivoli Storage Manager Server and the RMAN catalog.                                                
How to update the TDP Oracle node password?
Cd C:\program files\Tivoli\tsm\agentoba tdpoconfig password
Explain about Backup Copygroup Parameters?
Whether the file exist on the node will affect which rules are used to expire the file copies if the files exists.
VEREX: specifies number of file copies or versions to keep. Includes inactive and active files.
VERDEL: specifies no of versions to maintain after files have been deleted from client system
RETEX: specifies the no of days to keep inactive file versions .
RETON: Specifies the number of days to retain the last backup version of a file that has been deleted from the client file system.
Serialization: specifies how tsm handles the client data that to be backedup
Explain about LANFREE Backups?               
we will prefer lanfree when client data is more than 120gb to be backedup
lan completely not disabled,  metadata will be transferred thru lan  
Install storage agent in client system[client machine]
Configure library in shared mode
Configuration files are:
Dsmsta.opt          –              servername
 Devconfig.out   -               set  saname
                                       Set sapassword
                                                Set HLA
                                                Set LLA
Enablelanfree yes
Lanfreecommunication tcpip
Lanfreeport 1502
register sa in tsm server
define server saname saserverpassword HLA= LLA= commthd=
then sa acts as server
now we have to define drive path in server side
define path saservername drive sourcet=server destt=drive libraryname
start the sa thru dsmsta on client side
windows – services.msc
unix - ./dsmsta (thru putty)
to check whether the lanfree installed or not
tsm server> saservername: q session / show lanfree
to check whether the dsmsta process working or not
ps –ef | grep dsmsta [os level]
to check whether drives are configured or not
lsdev –Cc tape
Define Server command?              
def server storageangentname serverpassword= passwd hla=xx lla=xx
Explain about cfgmgr?
bringing define state to available state
if any hardware is connected to the server and is not detected ,then run cfgmgr 
LANFREE node drive paths are offline, what are the actions you will take?
update the drive to online and if still it is not online delete the path and againdef the \path
delete the paths using rmdev and re-run cfgmgr and
try to make them online by using defining drive path command again
What are important LANFREE parameters to be added in dsm.sys?
lanfreetcpport, lanfreetcpserveradress, enablelanfree yes, tcpport,tcpsereraddress,servername, commmethod tcpip, lanfreecommmethod tcpip
How to trigger LANFREE backup for a NORMAL node?         
dsmc i
Explian about DRM           
How to configure DRM?
1)register lic, set drm commands
Set drmplanfile
Set drminstrprefix
Set drmmountable
Set drmcouriername
Set drmvalut
Set drmprimstg
Set drmcopystg
Set drmdbbexpire
Set drmplanfile
Set drmcommandline
3)After this take backup of primstg to copystg
4)take backup of db, volh and devconfig to deviceclass
5)run prepare
6)prepare list of vols that has to send offsite
7)moving the vol using move drm media * wherestate= tostate=                  
How to break the PLAN file?
by runing this scrpit command:path\cscript planexpl.vbs path of the planfile
What are scripts available in PLAN file?
2typess vb and awk
What is the use of DSMFMT and DSMSERV FORMAT?
dsmfmt create volumes in console/ dsmserv format means intializes the server database and log, dsmfmt create volumes in console
How to restore TSM SERVER DATABASE using DBS/INCR/FULL database backups?
dsmserv restore db
How to restore TSM SERVER DATABASE without Volhist file, devconfig files?    "
you must recreate it before you can start the restore operation. The device configuration file must follow these conventions:
* The commands must be in this order:
o DEFINE SERVER (if you are using virtual volumes)
Explain about DRM TAPE states? How to change from one state to other?
moutable/not mountable/courier/valut/valut retriew/courier retriew/onsite retriew////
move media volname wherstate=x tostate=x
Explain about Configuration Files               
What are TSM SERVER Configuration files and explain about them?
devconfig.out, volh.out dsmserv.disk, dsmserv.opt
What is the use difference between dsm.sys and dsm.opt?               

What are TDP SQL/Exchange/Domino Configuration files? 
tdpsql.cfg, dms.sys/domdsm.cfg,dsm.sys/tdpexc.cfg,dsm.sys

TSM SERVER & Library Related
How to find the scratch count?    
select count(*) from libvol where status=scratch
How to update drive/library paths?
update path servername drive name src=server dest=drive libr=libname device=device name online =yes
update path servername librname src=server dest=libray device=device name online =yes
Found all the drives are taking 30mins time to dismount volume from Drive after the backup/restore/migration/reclamation or any process; what will be the isseu?       
Tape Stuck in drive, how do you resolve it?            
Checkout the tape, powercyling the drive, raise the ticket to Hardware team
How to checkin Cleaning TAPE? 
checkin libvolume Libraryname volname status=cleaner cleanings=10/only for scsi libr checklabel=no/for cleaner it shud be no
Explain about SEARCH=YES/NO/BULK parameter in checkin command?     
Specifies that only the named volume is checked into the library.
For SCSI libraries:
The server issues a request to have the volume inserted into a cartridge slot in the library or, if available, into an entry port. The cartridge slot or entry port is identified by its element address. For 349X libraries: The volume could already be in the library, or you could put it into the I/O station when prompted.
Yes-àSpecifies that the server searches the library for volumes to be checked in
Specifies that the server searches the library's entry/exit ports for volumes that can be checked in automatically. This option only applies to SCSI libraries
What are the actions you will take whenever LOG reaches 98% utilization? How do you resolve the issue?   

DB Utilization is high and reached 98%; what are actions you will take?       

How does Expiration and Reclamation are co-related?    
After running Expiration,  expired files are delted  from the database and by running reclamaitaion moves fragmeneted data from one or more vols to filling or new volumes
Would like to run BACKUP DB daily 4 times; how do you configure?
Depend on client requirements                                                                                                                  
When do we need to use MAXSCRATCH parameter?                                          
To increase the volumes for the storage pools                                                                      
What is the use of CACHE MIGRATES FILES=YES for DISK Storage Pools?
Restoration is quicker for the client                            
What is the use of REUSE DELAY parameter? To which stroragepools we use?
After deleting the files from the tapes how many days it shud wait
before returning to the scratch.Copy storage pools                            
Why do we need to go for USERID=NONE while registering a node?               
What is the use of Schedule PROMPTING in client schedule backups?           
Server wil intiate the schedule process by contacting the client.
Troubleshooting Backups & Restores?

RMAN Backup Failed, how do you find the resolution for that?                                                    

Node backup failed with RC127, how do you rectify the issue
(no space for the procces on the disk

TDP Exchange Restoration is very slow; how do you resolve this)?
Increase the size of tempfile    

What is the use of Journal Based Backups?
by installing this software we can take modified files and directory wch are stored in that folder
How to restore a single file, using the IMAGE BACKUP?
There  is no chance of restoring single file in image backup. We hav restore entire image
How to find out the damaged files in storagepool volumes? how to restore a DAMAGED Tape?
Audit vol volname preview=no
Restore vol volnme preview=yes
Restore vol volname copystg=copystgname
Server to Server Communications?            
What are the advantages of Server to Server communication?
Export and import
Command Routing and Enterprise management
When do we need to use EXPORT?

Can we create Server to Serer Communication between SERVER A which is 5.5 and SERVER B which is 6.2 ?
What is the use of crossdefine parameter?              
If cross def is on we can establish server to server communication
How to configure Virtual Volumes? And what is the adavantages of it?
First estasblish server to server communcaion in the both the servers and reg local node as server in in remote and then in local def server. Movin data through evaulting


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