Bug Busters Debuts Record-Level Mirroring Solution
January 9, 2007 Alex Woodie
While the number of established OS/400 high availability software providers has been declining lately due to industry consolidation (re: iTera, OS Solutions, and Vision Solutions), that hasn’t stopped new players, such as Bug Busters Software Engineering of Seattle, Washington, from entering the market. Last week, Bug Busters announced the GA of RSF 8.0, the latest release of its flagship utility, which gained a new record-level mirroring capability that is key to high availability replication.
Bug Buster’s RSF traditionally served as an application lifecycle management tool, not part of a disaster recovery or high availability solution. For years, RSF has helped thousands of customers keep application code updates from becoming unmanageable by automating the task of maintaining the development and production libraries of distributed OS/400 infrastructures in lock-step.
More recently, Bug Busters has added support for things like the replication of IFS files and objects in RSF. Bruce Lesnick, the company’s chief executive, has talked about his desire to turn RSF into a high availability and disaster recovery solution. However, RSF was relegated to replicating at the object level up to this point, which didn’t provide the level of granularity demanded for high availability replication.
That is now changing. With RSF 8.0, Bug Busters added support for record-level mirroring of database files, which will give users more power over data replication. Data areas are replicated at the byte level with the latest release, while all other object types are replicated at the object level. This release also supports two-way mirroring, and brings new commands for synchronizing libraries and IFS directories.
Bug Busters claims users can begin replicating data and objects between different machines–or even among different partitions on the same machine–in as little as five minutes after installing the software. Part of this speed has to do with the fact that RSF automatically creates any journals necessary for replication, and handles other tasks under the covers without user input.
RSF can apply changes on the target machine either by using a unique key, or by relative record number, which increases flexibility and integrity, Bug Busters says. RSF will determine the appropriate key access path automatically if that route is chosen. Users can fine tune their replication environment through a menu system, including which libraries and directories to mirror, which objects to omit, how often to synchronize, and which systems to target.
RSF still lacks many of the features found in mature OS/400 and i5/OS high availability solutions, including support for replicating user profiles and data queues, clustering, and automated failover.
RSF could have supported the replication of data queues, but the company decided against it for two reasons, Lesnick says. First it can be difficult to get to a starting synchronization point, and second, not many people need it, he says. The company is considering adding support for the replication of user profiles and more automated failover capabilities in future releases, Lesnick says.
However, even without these features, RSF solution could gain a share of the emerging market for low-cost replication solutions and help to move customers off tape-based disaster recovery equipment and techniques, which are slow and prone to failure. The combination of cost and capability will appeal to budget-conscious customers, Lesnick predicts. “Bug Busters RSF 8.0 solves 95 percent of the problem for 10 percent of the price,” he says.
Another important feature debuting with RSF 8.0 is a new command for copying an entire system to another machine. This command will enable users to move everything on one system–including all user profiles, libraries, IFS directories, configuration objects, and spooled files– to another system over the network. The only thing it doesn’t support is the operating system itself.
RSF 8.0 brings other new capabilities, too, including a new command for executing arbitrary CL commands on other machines, new commands to send and retrieve save files, and enhancements to the send and retrieve spooled file commands that make it easier to send and retrieve large groups of spooled file, the company says.
Record-level replication is available when users purchase the high availability option from Bug Busters. A license to RSF 8.0 with the high availability option costs $1,775 per machine. RSF 8.0 by itself costs $575, while users purchasing the HA option separately will pay $1,300.
RSF 8.0 with HA is available now. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.bugbusters.net.