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2 Keys to Simplifying Your IBM i High Availability

Authors Photo Precisely Editor | October 26, 2023

Historically, high-availability (HA) solutions have had a reputation for being complex, difficult to manage, and time-consuming. Automation and intelligence are changing all that.

Cloud computing has been transformational for many organizations. For companies running IBM i systems, the move to the cloud can open up new possibilities for running HA. Yet virtualization and cloud computing are built around new paradigms. That has powerful implications for organizations looking to implement HA solutions for IBM systems.

With new features and support for things like virtual serial numbers, Precisely’s HA solutions are easier than ever to deploy and manage.

The Top 3 Drivers for IBM i High Availability

There are three primary factors driving decisions about HA solutions:

  1. High-performance real-time replication. Organizations need flexibility and scalability, ensuring that every change in the source system is replicated in the target system as quickly as possible.
  2. Data integrity. Organizations also need to know that data is consistent across the source production system and the target backup system. If a switchover to the backup is required, organizations must ensure that they are maintaining data integrity.
  3. Automated configuration, monitoring, and management. Finally, organizations want to achieve these capabilities in a way that is easy to deploy and manage, with as little user intervention as possible.

The shift to cloud computing and hybrid environments is changing the way organizations approach these three priorities. As a platform, IBM i is starting to come into its own as a cloud computing environment. Many customers are leveraging the cloud for testing and development, taking advantage of the flexibility and agility of the cloud to spin up new instances for a range of different purposes such as testing applications.

cloud computing environment - IBM i high availability

What’s Driving the Shift to IBM i in the Cloud?

Statistics indicate that around 20% of IBM i shops are running systems in the cloud, and that number is growing steadily. There are four major benefits customers are seeking that are driving this adoption:

  1. Reduced costs
  2. Increased efficiency
  3. Improved agility
  4. More effective High availability

The cloud is inherently efficient because of its elasticity, flexibility, and scalability. The cost to run workloads in the cloud is lower than on dedicated hardware, where costly computing resources often remain underutilized.

It is easy to spin up new virtual machines (logical partitions or LPARs) in the cloud, without investing in hardware and without spending inordinate amounts of time on system configuration. Setting up new systems for testing, development, or HA is dramatically faster and easier than with hardware. That amounts to significantly greater efficiency and agility.

Finally, the cloud is ideally suited for HA applications. Precisely has been a leader in HA for IBM i for decades. Today, we’re making it easier than ever to deploy and manage our high-availability solutions, whether you’re choosing a purely cloud-based approach, systems or a combination of the two.

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5 Best Practices for Ensuring Your IBM i High Availability Solution is Switch-Ready

Download our free eBook to discover the best practices in HA management that ensure smooth planned and unplanned switches and more.

Automation and Intelligence: The 2 Keys to Simplifying HA

Precisely has been serving IBM i customers with industry-leading high-availability and disaster recovery solutions for decades, including our Assure MIMIX product. The latest updates to our software include a range of features that offer enhanced automation and intelligence, making it faster and easier to configure, deploy, and manage HA for IBM i.

  • CPW-based licensing: Precisely and IBM are evolving our licensing models to support a world where computing resources are very often virtual, not just physical. CPW stands for “Commercial Processing Workload.” It is a standard IBM i metric that applies consistently across cloud, hosted, or hybrid environments. CPW-based licensing allows customers to license our software based on their virtualization and capacity requirements. That capacity can be moved to various locations, including dedicated hardware, cloud environments, and data centers. Assure MIMIX can continue to protect your business and its critical systems whenever a Live Partition Mobility event occurs.
  • Support for virtual serial numbers: IBM can now assign globally unique Virtual Server Serial Numbers (VSSNs) to any LPAR, which can be moved across multiple physical or virtual environments. This provides the kind of flexibility necessary to operate smoothly and efficiently in cloud or multitenant scenarios. It also allows customers to replicate data to and from virtual servers for HA and DR applications.
  • Object synchronization designed for the cloud: Precisely has spent a great deal of effort in at least Assure MIMIX release improving our object synchronization. We have added enhancements that improve replication over the wire, including a synchronization processing queue and manager to facilitate orderly and complete synchronization actions with minimal user intervention. The new version of our software uses an intelligence engine to evaluate the state of the object on the backup, choosing the most efficient synchronization method available.
  • Journal-driven configuration: This new capability vastly accelerates configuration by adding automation. Assure MIMIX now automatically configures New Data Groups and begins replicating whenever a new journal is created. That saves a significant amount of time and eliminates delays in the protection of application-generated journals and schemas. It also allows for greater flexibility of selection rules, simplifying overall configuration definition and management.

MIMIX Monitoring with Ironstream

Another exciting new development is a combination of Assure MIMIX with Precisely’s Ironstream to feed data to IT monitoring tools such as Splunk, Elastic, Kafka, ServiceNow, and others.

Customers have told us that they want their IBM i systems to be managed together with the rest of their data center. The Assure Unified Interface was our first step toward providing that kind of information. Now we’re adding even more flexibility and customization capabilities with Ironstream, providing data to ITSM platforms that allow customers to build workflows, create dashboards and reports, and leverage artificial intelligence to optimize their IT systems in real time.

office with computers and workers - IBM i high availability

Automation for Confident Switching

Assure MIMIX offers seamless failover, with automated, customizable switching procedures. This allows you to run common HA operations with the simple push of a button. Built-in procedures include both planned and unplanned switchover, virtual switching for HA testing, switchover pre-check processes to assess readiness, and starting or stopping replication for application groups.

Assure MIMIX offers powerful continuous auditing capabilities, giving you the confidence of knowing that your HA system is ready to perform when you need it.

Assure MIMIX offers a range of advantages over competitive solutions. It’s easier to use and more flexible, offering very high performance and giving you the confidence that your IBM i systems will continue to serve your needs, no matter what happens. Our experts are available to offer services to help with upgrades, perform availability updates and tune-ups, or assist with testing to make sure your system is set up optimally.

To learn more about IBM i high availability, download our free ebook, 5 Best Practices for Ensuring Your IBM i High Availability Solution is Switch-Ready.