Spectrum Protect Basic Interview Question and Answers

These are the common and frequently asked IBM Spectrum Protect (TSM) interview questions. We have tried to provide some answers for the these questions. However, please add or modify the answers as per your understandings if required. If you need to learn IBM Spectrum Protect freely visit the page Tivoli Storage Manager Tutorials. You can also find the basic Video Tutorials at www.TSMtutorials.com Youtube channel. 

IBM Spectrum Protect Interview
Just as for any other interviews, Expect some basic questions about your education & work experience. Also be prepared for the questions related to your previous company and TSM infrastructure you worked upon. For example, 
  • Explain your previous company's Backup Setup ?
  • Explain how Tape Library is configured ?
  • What TDP products you worked on ?
You should be comfortable when answering the questions related to your previous experience. This will give the interviewer an idea about your dedication and interest. Once you done practice with these questions, prepare for the TSM basic concept questions. Below are some of the basic frequently asked questions and answers. 

1) What are your Daily Acivities as TSM administrator ?
  •  Health Check of all tsm servers which  includes DB, LOG, STGPOOL Utilization, and Scratch count.
  • Checking DB backup status, if it is not completed for the day then we will take Manual DB backup.
  • Troubleshooting Missed/Failed Backpus  based upon Priority.
  • Decommioning & Registering Node if any needed.
  • Checking status of admin schedules.
  • Working on new restore request if required.
  • Sending Daily status report to senior Managers on Daily Basis.
  • Co-coordinating with Onsite people related to Library & tape Issues and for any change request.
  • Installing and configuring any new TSM BAclients and TDP Clients.

2) What are the different types of TSM Licenses available ?

Tsmbasic.lic ----for basic version

Tsmee.lic-----for extended edition

Dataret.lic---for data retention version

3) How Database backup is configured in your previous organization ?

We Have a Admin Schedule Where It will take Full Backup of DB Once in a day. 


We also take DBsnapshot backup for DRM purposes.

4) How to delete DB snapshot backups which are more than 1 week old ?

We can delete by using the command

           Delete volhistory type=DBS begind=-7   

5) How to check the status of backup schedules from last 5 days ?

q event * * begind=today-5 endd=today

To get the status of only failed/missed schedules

q event * * begind=today-5 endd=today ex=yes

6) How do you troubleshoot failed/missed backup schedules ?

We need to login to client system and check the dsmerror.log or dsmsched.log if any errors reported. Then based upon those errors, we need to fix the issues and rerun the backups upon client approval.

7) How to check if TSM scheduler service status ?

           Run the below command to check the status

ps – ef  | grep -i dsmsched
ps -ef | grep -i dsmcad

            To start the services in UNIX Flavors

sudo /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin64/dsmc sched > /dev/null 2>&1

sudo nohup dsmc schedule 2 > /dev/null &

sudo /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsmc sched -quiet &

sudo dsmc -optfile=/opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsm.opt

8) What are the important Server & Client configuration files ?

dsmserv.opt, devconfig.out, volhist.out

DSMSERV.OPT: All the server configuration Information (Protocol detail, bufffersize, log pool size, Volhistpath, devconfig path)     

DEVCONFIG.OUT: All device configuration information like device class, drives                      configuration info.

VOLHIST.OUT:  All sequential volumes (LTO & FILE deviceclass) information.

         Client configuration files are

DSM.OPT----    Client settings (Windows)
DSM.SYS & DSM.OPT ----   Client settings (UNIX)
DSMSCHED.LOG----Scheduled Information will be there
DSMERR.LOG----Error related logs will be Displayed

9) What are the common backup failure problems on Windows servers
  • Server out of data storage space
  • System Object error1
  • Snap shot operation failure       
  • TCP/IP error
  • Microsoft Volume shadow copy failed
  • Authentication failure
  • Removing previous system state backup failed
  • Communication with TSM server lost
  • O.S refused memory allocation

10) What is reclamation ? How to know which tapes are eligible for reclamation ?

Reclamation is the process of moving the unexpired data from  fragmented  tapes to another tapes which are in filling tapes for the efficient use of the tape resources.  If reclaim threshold limit is set as 60%, then tapes which are having status=FULL and pct_utilization<40 are eligible for reclamation.

11) What are the TSM schedule return codes ?

0---Operation completed successfully
4---Oeration completed successfully except with one or more skipped files
8---Operation completed with one or more warning message object
12--Operation failed with one or more error messages

12) How to understand the TSM Event messages shown in activity log ?

Generally, TSM event messages are in below format

ANR [R S E] ???? [I W E S]


I Information
W Warning
S Severe
13) How to check the TSM server installation status ?

Check the following log files for the status report 


14) What is the purpose of PASSWORDACCESS GENERATE ?

Tsm client password is encrypted and stores in a file on the client. If a client receives that password
has expired from the tsm server then client generates a new password.

password dir is a option in the b/a client to specify the location of the encrypted password file
But win32 systems are having exception that the encrypted password stores in the registry

15) What are the common backup failure problems on UNIX servers

1.       File not found
2.       Directory path not found
3.       Invalid password
4.       TCP/IP issue
5.       Server out of data storage space
6.       Incremental processing on file system stopped

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