Can you tell us where in the configuration the location of the GDS is identified?
Login to the LiveCycle Admin Console (http://server:port/adminui) navigate to Settings->Core System Settings->Configurations. Look under “Global document storage root directory”.
Was a location defined at install time, or will this exist at some default location?
Yes, it was probably defined at install time. There is a default, which varies with the OS. It is a bad idea to leave it blank (default).
How do I change the location after the install?
Please see here.
Is the GDS a file (or files) in the file system?
Yes, always. It can be a local filesystem but has to be an NFS/CIFS mount for a cluster. There can only be one of these, even if the cluster has 20 members. It is used to store any document larger than what is cofigured for “Default Document Max Inline Size” (AdminUI). It is also used to store Record and Playback output (Workbench). In fact, it is used whenever LiveCycle serializes a document .
If so, can this file(s) be copied (cp) or zipped?
Yes. But please make sure that the appserver instance hosting LiveCycle is stopped.
Does the GDS need to be in any particular state in order to copy it?
The ideal state is where the appserver instance(s) hosting LiveCycle is stopped. In 24×7 environments, put LiveCycle into “backup mode”.
The doc implies that the GDS will store long-term. If so, would tape backup make the most sense?
Not necessarily. The “long-term” implication probably comes from our use of the term “long-lived” which only means orchestrations (workflows) involving human actors. So if you have business processes that last months, that’s how long-term things need to be.
Can LiveCycle be changed to “backup mode” via a batch command script? If so, do you have an example you can share?
Those sample scripts are available at …/adobe/livecycle8.2/LiveCycle_ES_SDK/misc/Foundation/BackupRestoreCommandline/
The most fundamental thing to remember is that the backup of the database has to be time-synchronized with the backup of the GDS. More here.