MaxAv Updates System i High Availability Software
March 27, 2007 Alex Woodie
Maximum Availability this month began shipping a major new release of its *noMAX suite of high availability software for System i servers. With the new release, dubbed vnR1, MaxAv has concentrated on adding more autonomic capabilities to the product, to allow it to more quickly recover from problems such as out-of-synch conditions. A slew of newly supported data types, new interfaces, and improvement in auditing further signals the maturation of this product.
Maximum Availability is a New Zealand company that has been selling its collection of remote journaling-based high availability products for the last seven years or so. The company, which has struggled to gain recognition from IBM in the extremely competitive high availability software market, has concentrated on making its product easy to implement and affordable for smaller users, the fastest growing segment of the market, and the one least served by traditional HA vendors.
Leading the list of new features and capabilities in *noMAX vnR1 is patrolMAX, which is designed to automatically deal with out-of-synch conditions. As a module of *noMAX, PatrolMAX will automatically detect and fix out-of-synch conditions, one of the banes of i5/OS high availability environments.
This release also brings two new improvements to *noMAX’s graphical interface, including a new GUI dashboard designed to enable administrators to quickly gauge the current state of the replication environment through a series of color-coded icons representing the status of each configuration, and a new GUI journal management feature has also been added to help administrators manage journaling and replication. For those die-hard 5250 users, *noMAX has also improved the green screen menu interface, the company says.
Support for several additional types of data and objects comes with this release, including USRIDX (User Index), *USRSPC (User Space) and *SAVF (Save File) objects. The new release also brings the capability to replicate spool files from source to target machines–an important feature to have if business is going to be conducted for any length of time on the backup machine.
Further work has been done with the handling of IFS files during role swaps. MaxAv says it is providing greater IFS functionality on the backup system and better protection of IFS-related transactions during a role swap.
MaxAv says it has improved the controllability of *noMAX replication processes with a new property file function. This new function allows administrators to further customize their new and existing *noMAX replication processes using the property file feature. Users can also now select multiple library names during the process of selecting which libraries to replicate, which should speed up this process, MaxAv says.
Allan Campbell, MaxAv’s CEO, says the new features delivered in *noMAX vnRI demonstrate his company’s commitment to listening to customers and delivering the functionality they need.
“This new release signals an important development in the evolution of the *noMAX product roadmap and represents the foundation of the next generation HA and DR solutions being developed by Maximum Availability,” he says. “It underscores the company’s commitment to the continued innovation of the *noMAX products and our driving philosophy of delivering solutions for businesses of all sizes that are cost-effective, reliable, easy to deploy, efficient to use.”
*noMAX is offered in three versions, including *noMAX Sentry, *noMAX Defender, and noMAX Garrison. *noMAX Sentry is a disaster recovery product that utilizes remote journaling to move data (but not objects) to a backup iSeries server at pre-defined intervals (much like tape backups). *noMAX Defender adds the replication of objects like data areas, data queues, and user profiles, and provides role-swap capabilities for running applications off the back-up system. noMAX Garrison adds support for replicating IFS assets and provides more powerful customization tools.
Last year, *noMAX added a fourth product to the mix, called *noMAX Scout, that isn’t listed on the company’s Web site today. *noMAX Scout was a promotional offering that provided limited high availability capability, such as the capability to replicate data (but not objects), and the limitation of being able to use only “apply group” on the target server; full implementations commonly use dozens of apply groups. Also, *noMAX Scout, like *noMAX Sentry, doesn’t offer dynamic file creates, which means if a new file is added to the library you’re replicating, you’ll need to tell *noMAX about it manually before it’s replicated.
It was unknown when the vnRI releases of *noMAX Sentry, *noMAX Defender, and *noMAX Garrison would be available. Previously, the company charged between $5,000 to $20,000 or more for these products. For more information, please see www.maximumavailability.com.