Vision Integrates Clustering Tool into IBM’s New Web Console
October 28, 2008 Alex Woodie
Users of Vision Solutions‘ high availability software can now manage their HA and clustering setups through IBM‘s Systems Director Navigator for i5/OS console, the vendor announced last week. By integrating Vision Cluster1 with the new Web-based management console, Vision has allowed its customers to mange more of their critical operations from a single console, rather than jumping around to different interfaces.
Systems Director Navigator for i, which debuted earlier this year with the launch of i5/OS V6R1 (now simply i 6.1), is the new Web browser-based console for managing all types of operations and administration functions on System i and Power Systems servers. The software is based on a common platform that IBM is using to build management tools for other operating systems (providing a promise of a cross-platform future), and is the long-term replacement for the older Windows-based System i Navigator (OpsNav) tool.
When Systems Director Navigator shipped, IBM included more than 300 functions in the software, including standard administrative tasks such as monitoring message logs and system queues; configuring printers and communication lines; starting and stopping jobs; and adding and deleting users and user profiles. It also brought some HA-related functions, including the capability to start and stop journaling; the capability to monitor i OS cluster resources; and the capability to manage High Availability Solutions Manager (HASM), the new high-end, disk-based, synchronous replication mechanism that IBM introduced with i5/OS V6R1, and which has already been renamed to PowerHA.
Thanks to the work IBM and Vision have done, System i customers can now access Vision’s clustering and HA management capabilities from the Systems Director Navigator interface, says Bill Hammond, director of product marketing in Vision’s Chicago office.
“Vision has worked with IBM to be the first to utilize a plug-in capability in IBM Director Navigator to provide the integration,” Hammond says via e-mail. “What we essentially did was make our products discoverable by the IBM interface. Once the Vision products are recognized, they show up alongside the IBM products in the menu structure on the left side of the UI, and then Vision determines and delivers the relevant content that appears in the panel on the right side.”
While Systems Director Navigator did include some basic functions for managing i OS cluster resource services (such as displaying the lists of nodes in a cluster, and deleting clusters)–as well as monitoring and managing PowerHA capabilities–the new Cluster1 plug-in gives Systems Director Navigator users more options for managing HA and clustering setups, Hammond says.
For starters, Cluster1 (and thus the Cluster1 plug-in for SysDirNav) can manage clusters with more than two nodes. Additionally, the Cluster1 plug-in brings additional “autonomic” functionality to the management console, including more audit checks and reports. An automated role swap capability is also included as part of the Cluster1 product, which is something that SysDirNav lacks.
Vision emphasizes that the Cluster1 plug-in for SysDirNav is able to manage the full breadth of high availability technologies from Vision–including its ORION, MIMIX HA, and iTera HA products–and is not limited to managing clustering environments from IBM.
Cluster1 is a high-level tool for managing and monitoring all types of high availability technologies on the i-based Power Systems server, including traditional logical replication, cluster services, PowerHA, and all types of cross site mirroring (XSM)-based technologies, including Geographic Mirror, Metro Mirror, and Global Mirror.
One of Cluster1’s main goals is providing managers with a view of real-time switch readiness, regardless of the HA product or clustering topology. It does this through color-coded alerts and graphics that are easy for managers to grasp, according to Vision. Cluster1 can also initiate roll-swaps across these different HA and clustering mechanisms with the press of a single button (although, in reality, few, if any, customers want to put so much power into the push of a single button).
With such a wide and varied function set, Cluster1 makes a good high-level management console for hybrid HA setups that use a combination of logical replication (as delivered by Vision’s iTeraHA, MIMIX, and ORION HA products) and newer hardware-based replication technologies like PowerHA and XSM, which utilize and require IBM’s cluster services technology.
“Integrated offerings such as these represent the future for IBM Power Systems customers,” says Alan Arnold, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Vision Solutions. “Vision’s R&D lab in Rochester, Minnesota, works closely with the adjacent IBM lab to ensure our solutions extend the latest technologies.”
Says Dave Nelson, director of IBM i software development: “This level of integration truly takes high availability protection to new levels within the Power Systems world. Enabling customers in some of the world’s most complex environments to manage their availability with one-click cluster management increases customer satisfaction and helps our mutual customers improve their business resiliency.”