Mirroring/400 Considers Move Into U.S. Market
January 22, 2008 Alex Woodie
Small and medium size businesses in the United States soon could be hearing about another option for System i disaster recovery software: Mirroring/400. The Argentinean company, which is owned by Team Soft, is considering offering the remote journaling-based solution to North American System i shops that are looking for proven, low-cost alternatives to full high availability software, officials with the company say.
Mirroring/400 relies on IBM‘s remote journaling technology to provide one-way or multi-directional replication of objects and files among iSeries or System i servers. Use of remote journaling ensures that all changes to data–including updates, inserts, deletes, file reorgs, relocations, etc.–are mirrored to the target system in the same sequence as they occurred on the primary system. In the event of a disaster or malfunction of the primary server, the customer can continue to run critical applications on the secondary server, which has a duplicate copy of the customers’ data and application and system objects as a result of the Mirroring/400 software.
The software can be used to replicate files and objects in real time, or replication jobs can be scheduled to take place during off-hours. This can be very useful for hitting a certain recovery point objective (RPO) or recovery time objective (RTO), two common measurements used to gauge the relative strength of a DR or high availability setup. But Mirroring/400 can also be used for other functions, such as updating branch offices with information housed in a central system; balancing workloads among multiple systems; or moving data to other systems for business intelligence or other purposes.
Use of IBM’s remote journaling makes file and object replication more reliable, and also moves the bulk of the replication workload from the primary machine to the secondary machine, the company points out. Mirroring/400 currently replicates files, data areas, data queues, authorization lists, spool files, and any other object that can be saved by the SAVOBJ command, the company says.
Two main modules are included with Mirroring/400–the administration and control module, and the update and recovery module, both of which are green-screen interfaces. The administration and control module is used to define which files and objects will be replicated, what systems they will be replicated to, and what journals are involved. It’s also used to start and stop local and remote journaling. At the other end of the remote journaling pipe sits the update and recovery module, which is in charge of applying updates to files on the remote system, and is also used to initiate the recovery process.
Development on Mirroring/400 started in 2001 and since then, the product has been implemented at several customers in the financial services, healthcare, transportation, and food businesses in Argentina, says Anibal Fuentes, who holds the title of commercial manager for Mirroring/400.
In 2007, the company branched out of South America for the first time through a partnership with an Italian company, which has already made its first sale of Mirroring/400 in Italy. The company is following a similar partnership track in Israel, where it is in talks with another software company, Fuentes says.
Buoyed by this success, Mirroring/400 is now taking steps to sell software in the world’s biggest market for i5/OS software: the United States. The Mirroring/400 product and its manual have already been translated into English, and the company is currently working on getting an English-language Web site up and running.
Mirroring/400 is considering two different approaches for selling in the U.S, neither of which include setting up an office on American soil. The first option is to establish a partnership with a vendor that already has a solid presence here, which is the approach it is taking in Italy and Israel.
Alternatively, the company may opt to sell the product directly to U.S. companies and support them remotely over the telephone and through the Web. It’s already used this approach to sell Mirroring/400 in Ecuador, Fuentes says, and it could work well in the U.S.
A third option may be to blend the first and second approaches, which would keep costs down for most maintenance issues, but would also give customers some peace of mind in knowing that there is a qualified Mirroring/400 technician only hours away.
Whichever approach Mirroring/400 takes, there is demand for low-cost DR software, Fuentes says. “The strategy is to offer two licenses (for the production and recovery machines) at a low annual fee, which includes the use of licenses for one year plus support and upgrades to new releases,” Fuentes says. “There are many SMBs that cannot buy this kind of software because of their price. It happens in Argentina, Italy, and surely [in the United States], so we have the chance to offer our product at a very affordable price that can be attractive to any company. Our product is robust and reliable, we want to grow and the U.S. is the biggest market.”