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The Latest in High Availability Solutions With Assure MIMIX

John Dunn | May 15, 2018

This has been a turbulent year for IT professionals working in all industries. Resilience has routinely made the headlines as technology-related disasters have impacted scores of organizations.

One formidable adversary of IT resilience is Mother Nature. Disruptive natural disasters this year, such as the Kilauea volcano erupting on the big island of Hawaii, hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria, and raging California wildfires, all underscored the need for high availability, data protection, solid backup systems, and disaster preparedness. Against these strong headwinds, IT professionals are called upon to provide an enterprise infrastructure that can sustain severe shocks and protect information.

According to a survey of 5,632 IT professionals by Syncsort (now Precisely) on security, high availability and disaster recovery topics, many companies are moving forward energetically to launch new initiatives. Security, business continuity, and disaster recovery are flashpoints for professionals and also the focus of most technology initiatives in the next 24 months. After years of overseeing skinny data center budgets, IT professionals are optimistic that their companies are ready to invest in IT for business continuity, greater operational efficiency or to support new business opportunities.

When asked about failures, downtime, data loss, recovery time objectives (RTOs), and recovery point objectives (RPOs), nearly half of businesses experienced a failure that required use of an HA/DR solution to resume operations. Within that group, more than a third lost data, and not a trivial amount. For those who lost data, 35% lost between a few minutes and an hour of data. Another 28% lost a few hours, and 31% lost a day or more of data. Previous IT trends surveys revealed that business continuity and the ability to recover from disaster were the leading issues for professionals in the coming year.

Assure MIMIX, Precisely’s industry-leading high availability solution for IBM i, replicates changes to data and objects from a production server to a recovery server in real time. In the event of an outage or regional disaster, the recovery server, an exact replica of the production system, can keep the business’s doors open.

The IBM i remote journaling features used by Assure MIMIX replicated every transaction in real time to protect you from data loss and enable you to deliver on zero or near-zero recovery time objectives (RPOs). Because the recovery server is a live copy of your server, recovery time is measured in section to minutes to meet strict recover time objectives (RTO).

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According to the Syncsort survey, of those companies that used their high availability / disaster recovery solution to resume operation on secondary systems, nearly half (45%) had a recovery time between 30 minutes and 6 hours. The average downtime reported by companies between 11 and 1,000 employees was 8 hours. Only 3% experienced zero downtime.

Still another result was surprising: The smallest companies (less than 11 employees) and the largest companies (more than 1,000 employees) had average downtimes of 11 hours–at least three hours longer than moderately sized organizations. One interpretation is that the largest organizations naturally have more complex recovery environments, including servers, software, and hundreds of components such as cooling and power; the smallest businesses might have less efficient recovery systems.

Regardless of their size, small and large businesses alike can be seriously affected by downtime. In a small business, downtime that drives customers to the competition can significant affect the bottom line, and extended downtime can impair long term viability. For larger online retailers, government agencies, medical institutions, airlines, and brokerage firms, a few hours of unplanned downtime are nothing less than catastrophic. The global economy, and indeed national security, healthcare, and finance, are dependent upon continuous access to enterprise systems: Even a few seconds of downtime can have severe consequences for citizens, consumers, and businesses.

With the release of Assure MIMIX HA, the industry-leader in high availability for IBM i, Precisely delivers innovative new technology to customers ranging from SMBs to the largest enterprises. Assure MIMIX HA utilizes the multi-threading in IBM Power Systems to deliver a true multi-threaded engine for applying replicated IBM i objects and system data to a recovery server in real-time. Benchmarks show that data is applied to the target up to 10 times faster than previous versions of Assure MIMIX.

This increase in performance supports the most aggressive recovery time objectives (RTO) by minimizing backlog on the recovery server. In addition, this new multi-threaded engine dynamically adjusts for spikes in the volume of replicated transactions to eliminate the need for manual tuning.

According to a January 17, 2018 CNN Money report by Patrick Gillespie, “American businesses big and small increasingly have the same problem: They can’t find workers. The job market is so hot that employers are struggling to handle the consequences.”

According to an HRDRIVE article by Valerie Bolden-Barrett published Jan. 31, 2018, “92% of employers say skills shortage affects productivity, job satisfaction. More than half of the 3,000 U.S. employers and managers in the Hays U.S. 2018 Salary Guide said they’re hiring in 2018, but three-quarters said their industries face severe skills shortages. So severe is the shortage that 92% of employers say the problem is negatively affecting productivity, employee satisfaction and turnover.

Two-thirds of respondents saw business activity increase in 2017 and three-quarters believe activity will increase in 2018. Respondents said a lack of training and development and fewer workers entering their industry were the main causes of the shortage.”

Recognizing the increasing strain on skilled IBM i resource availability, Precisely has delivered substantial enhancements in ease of monitoring and control in Assure MIMIX HA. The streamlined, mobile-friendly summary dashboard in Assure MIMIX HA allows existing IT staff a simple, graphical way to manage their HA environment. The mobile-friendly dashboard is color-coded to provide a summary view of all aspects of the Assure MIMIX environment on a single page, and it displays optimally on a full-size monitor, tablet or a smart phone.

To support IT pros needs for unattended monitoring, SNMP and email notifications can be configured for a variety of issues and severities. The redesigned dashboard allows existing IT staff to monitor and control Assure MIMIX no matter where they are or what device is at their fingertips.

The Assure MIMIX HA dashboard also provides on-demand visibility into current recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) metrics. Insight into current estimated RPO and RTO metrics, as well as a history of past recovery times, enables IT pros to demonstrate their ability to meet their HA objectives to key stakeholders, while also providing visibility into trends.

The coming year promises to be no less turbulent that the last. Systems will fail. Mother Nature will wreak havoc and cause disruption. Humans will make errors and some will intentionally seek to do harm. IT Professionals, entrusted by their companies to ensure continuous availability of data and applications, place a high priority on protecting their business from downtime and ensuring they meet SLAs and regulatory requirements. Assure MIMIX pioneered the way in IBM i high availability and continues to deliver new and innovative ways to meet the data and application availability needs of thousands of businesses across the globe in Assure MIMIX HA.

Also, make sure to check out our white paper, “Achieving Extreme Availability: An Introduction to Active-Active Replication with Assure MIMIX HA,” to learn more about how you can use Active-Active replication with Assure MIMIX HA to virtually eliminate downtime and balance workloads.