Vision Solutions Launches HA Appliance
Published: May 10, 2011
by Dan Burger
High availability systems bring to mind the promise of near zero downtime. They also stretch the imagination in terms of cost and complexity. Both those potential obstacles are becoming less of a factor, however. The most recent example was announced last week by Vision Solutions. It's a pre-installed high availability package on IBM Power Systems and System x servers.
For organizations operating in 24x7 modes without high availability, Vision's just-announced Availability Appliance is worth noting. It has multiple configuration options that include IBM i, AIX, Windows, and Linux operating systems; the backup hardware, the HA software, plus installation services and maintenance in one package. Although these features are not new, the way Vision is packaging and selling them is a different approach aimed at keeping things simple.
The Availability Appliance package has small to midsize companies as its target. For IBM i shops, its pre-installed software on the backup Power Systems server is Vision's MIMIX Availability Professional Edition (not the MIMIX Enterprise Edition or the iTera Availability). It includes a browser-based user interface, systems optimization monitoring, and systems operations management. The combination of these is designed to maintain data integrity, which is critical in a failover situation.
For Power Systems users, the backup system hardware options are the models 720 and 740 servers.
The hardware options for the Windows and Linux side are the IBM System x M3 and X5 models. Their HA software is the Double-Take Availability, which supports Microsoft Exchange, SQL, MySQL, Oracle, SharePoint, RedHat Enterprise Linux, Novell SuSE Linux, CentOS, and Oracle Enterprise Linux. It can be set up to protect the full server or just the critical applications and data.
Double-Take Availability incorporates automated switching and failover on physical and virtual Windows and Linux environments. It also includes application-independent clustering with or without underlying logical replication. Vision Solutions acquired Double-Take in July 2010.
To take care of the installation and shipping aspects of implementing high availability, Vision has brought in Arrow Electronics' OEM Computing Solutions experts. Their expertise in delivering quick and accurate deployments and their familiarity with the midsize market put them in this service role.
For those of you familiar with the IBM i Solutions Editions, you'll note that Vision has a similar offering in that program, which results in product discounts in the neighborhood of 30 percent on both the hardware and software. Among the differences between the Solutions Edition and the Availability Appliance package are factors such as the software not being installed on the backup server in the Solutions Edition, the do-it-yourself implementation with Solution Edition, and the one-stop shopping for a combination of IBM i and System x high availability that comes with the Availability Appliance deal.
Vision hasn't announced pricing for the Availability Appliance package, but the discounting on the Solution Edition pricing will help keep it low, despite the installation services built into the Availability Appliance.
Vision's business partners will handle all the arrangements, including a managed services option for companies wishing to off-load the HA software responsibilities. Companies should be aware, however, that they will have responsibilities for keeping their production systems ready for a switch.
If I could add one thing to this package, it would be a single console for managing multiple environments. I have a hunch that somewhere down the road--not too far into the future--this will come to be.
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