Trader’s Does High Availability for the iSeries, Too
April 6, 2004 Timothy Prickett Morgan
When we reported a few weeks ago that IBM would add a variant of the iSeries Model 810 to the iSeries for High Availability server line, we said that the five high-availability software makers most people know by name–DataMirror, iTera, Lakeview Technology, Maximum Availability, and Vision Solutions–were offering their high availability products on these new boxes. But we didn’t mention the French vendor Trader’s.
You learn something new every day, and Thierry Roux, the general manager of Trader’s, was a bit perplexed that we didn’t mention his company, which was given IBM’s blessing as a high availability solution for the iSeries two years ago. This blessing has significant benefits for the high availability companies that have it, such as the ability to sell iSeries hardware at a discount and to get the inside track on future OS/400 developments and features. While IBM obviously knows about Trader’s, it has not been promoting it in the United States, since Trader’s has concentrated its sales very recently in Europe. But now Trader’s wants to break into the North American iSeries market, and if you are shopping around for high availability clustering on the iSeries, particularly for the new Model 810 iSeries for High Availability box, you should probably check Trader’s out.
Trader’s was founded 12 years ago as a company that provided printing-related add-ons for the OS/400 spool file manager. The company sells modernized versions of these products in the Quick Software Line of products. The company’s spool management product is called Quick-Spool, its graphics printing solution is called Quick-Press, and its spool archiving program is called Quick-Archiv. Trader’s launched its high availability and data replication programs, which are collectively called Quick-EDD, in 1997.
The Trader’s high availability suite for the iSeries has three pieces. Quick-EDD/HA is the core system mirroring engine. It is used to back up all the important pieces of an OS/400 system: application and OS/400 system objects, database files, spool files, and other files in the OS/400 Integrated File System. It can also move user access privileges from a primary source machine to a target machine. The software can also mirror between logical partitions on a single physical machine or on two separate machines. The collection of programs that make up Quick-EDD/HA are written in RPG IV, C, and low-level code that runs below OS/400’s machine interface. The company uses OS/400’s journaling functions to cluster the source and target machines, and does not use remote journaling. Roux says that the remote journaling protocol, while having the virtue of being relatively easy to implement, is too heavy; also, in the event of a crash, it takes too long to restart a machine. An optional add-on module to the Quick-EDD/HA product can resynchronize the source machine after a target machine has taken over and done real work, post crash.
For customers who do not want a full-blown high availability solution but, rather, want just to replicate software and data between two machine (without failover clustering), Trader’s sells a subset of its high availability solution that does only data replication. This is, quite logically, called Quick-EDD/DR, and is really designed only for replication between OS/400 servers. Data can be replicated in a one-to-many fashion, by the way, and files can be selectively replicated to specific machines in a network. An add-on module, called Quick-EDD/DRm, can replicate DB2/400 database files to other DB2 variants, as well as to Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and Sybase databases.
Roux says that Trader’s has around 100 customers using its Quick-EDD/HA solution, with systems ranging from midrange boxes to iSeries Model 890s. The company has another 50 customers just using the Quick-EDD/DR solution for data replication. Trader’s has been certified to sell its products in the North American market on the new Model 810 iSeries for High Availability box. Quick-EDD/HA licenses for two iSeries machines (with one of them being the Model 810 high availability box) cost $20,000. Licenses for Quick-EDD/DR for two machines cost $12,000. Trader’s, like other high availability software vendors, prices its software based on OS/400 software tiers; the price goes up as the machines get bigger. These prices include the cost of software, installation and training services, and one year’s worth of maintenance. After that year runs out, maintenance for Quick-EDD programs costs 15 percent of list price per year. Trader’s has tapped Integrated Information Solutions, an iSeries business partner based in Missoula, Montana, to provide local support for its products in the United States. Integrated Information Solutions has installed and supported AS/400 and iSeries servers all over the country.
Roux says that data replication software from Trader’s soon will be able to replicate information from OS/400 partitions into AIX and Linux partitions within a single iSeries box. Support for Linux will probably come first, since Linux is already supported on the iSeries inside partitions. Interestingly, Quick-EDD/DR also replicates an iSeries Linux partition to any old machine running an equivalent Linux installation, even if it is an old PC turned on its side. Eventually, Trader’s plans to support high availability clustering for both Linux and AIX partitions, on the future Power5 servers, which are due this year. Quick-EDD/HA already can provide clustering and failover for Windows-based Integrated xSeries Server co-processors in the AS/400 and iSeries line.