Lakeview Targets SMBs with New MIMIX ha Lite Solution
March 9, 2004 Alex Woodie
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, iTera and Maximum Availability have got to be blushing by now. Lakeview Technology, considered by many to be the top dog of the OS/400 high availability racket, is finally going head to head with the companies from Utah and New Zealand, with a remote-journaling-based high availability solution for the small and midsized business (SMB) marketplace.
Lakeview says that MIMIX ha Lite addresses areas customers often complain about when it comes to OS/400 high availability software–namely cost, complexity, and ease of use. The Chicago company based its new software on IBM‘s remote journaling technology, which pushes much of the replication work down below the operating system level. MIMIX ha Lite also provides a GUI management screen, and comes in at about half the cost of traditional high availability solutions, the company says.
MIMIX ha Lite users will set up and control their high availably environment using Lakeview’s GUI management components, called the MIMIX Browser and the Availability Co-pilot, which plug into the Browser. The MIMIX Browser and Availability Co-Pilot provide colorful graphic representations of the MIMIX replication environment, and tell the system administrator whether a switchover is ready to be performed. The Co-Pilot is a new Browser plug-in that Lakeview launched for its full MIMIX product last fall (see “Lakeview’s New ‘Co-pilot’ Keeps an Eye on Switchover Readiness”).
If disaster strikes, MIMIX ha Lite can switch production from the primary iSeries to the backup iSeries with the push of a single button, Lakeview says. Companies can also use MIMIX ha Lite’s availability features to keep applications online while routine maintenance or backups are being performed on the primary machine.
Lakeview says MIMIX ha Lite is based on the technology it used to build MIMIX dr1, a disaster recovery application it launched in 2002 (see “Lakeview Shoots the Gap Between High Availability and Tape with dr1”). MIMIX dr1, in turn, uses the Active Server technologies that are part of the full-bore MIMIX version’s “compare while active” features for OS/400 databases.
On top of this MIMIX dr1 frame, Lakeview added remote journaling, which provides the real-time data replication between OS/400 servers (remote journaling is available with MIMIX V4R4, but most users of Lakeview’s full-bore HA offering use Lakeview’s proprietary “journal scrape” method of finding and sending changed data). Both synchronous and asynchronous remote journaling is supported, allowing users to tailor the system according to their needs.
One of the benefits of using remote journaling is that virtually all of MIMIX ha Lite’s processing is done on the backup server, which reduces processing overhead on the primary machine, as well as communication line traffic, Lakeview says. This is an attribute of remote journaling often touted by competitors of Lakeview who use remote journaling.
The price/performance tale gets even sweeter when you consider that IBM just announced the iSeries Model 810 dedicated high availability server (see “IBM Delivers Model 810 iSeries for HA Server”). An iSeries Model 810, especially one that’s handling 90 percent or so of the replication workload, would make a perfect sized backup box for many SMBs. MIMIX ha Lite qualifies the user for that IBM discount, as do the other products in the MIMIX line.
Companies will suffer very little downtime with MIMIX ha Lite, Lakeview says. High availability software developers measure the amount of downtime a company is willing to take, and the strength of the disaster recovery or high availability software used to counter that downtime, using the recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) metrics. Lakeview says MIMIX ha Lite can return an RPO and RTO ranging from seconds to minutes. For the sake of comparison, the RTO for MIMIX dr 1 starts at 30 minutes and goes up from there, while the RTO for a fully clustered MIMIX V4R4 installation could be as low as zero.
ACCEPTING REMOTE JOURNALING
The development of MIMIX ha Lite shows that Lakeview is not ready to cede the lower segment of the marketplace to its upstart competitors, nor to its more traditional competitors that have also developed high availability offerings with a lower-cost and less complexity.
Traditional OS/400 high availability implementations have long been criticized for their expense and complexity, preventing all but the largest OS/400 shops–the ones with the most to lose from server downtime–from implementing this software. By most accounts, the penetration of traditional OS/400 high availability is somewhere around 5 percent.
Things started to change several years ago when IBM introduced remote journaling technology, with OS/400 V4R4. Remote journaling provides a method of transporting data from one OS/400 server to another. It was built into the iSeries system software (below the operating system layer, in fact) with influence from the high availability business partners, primarily with the notion that it would be used in data replication and disaster recovery scenarios, to increase data integrity.
As remote journaling matured, it lowered the bar of entry for other software companies to develop their own OS/400 high availability applications on top of the superior remote journaling plumbing, which they did. Because much of the work of developing the guts of OS/400 data replication had been done for them, companies like iTera and Maximum Availability could sell their software at a lower cost. In recent years, these relatively young competitors have racked up scores of installations in the United States and abroad, proving the viability and flexibility of their business models.
Lakeview says MIMIX ha Lite is available now, and that it costs about half of a typical high availability offering and will be competitive with similar offerings based on remote journaling. However, the company did not provide specific pricing. For more information, go to www.lakeviewtech.com.