Bug Busters Adds Remote Journaling to HA Offering
December 9, 2008 Alex Woodie
Bug Busters Software Engineering last week unveiled RSF-HA 8.3, a new release of its replication and high availability software for IBM i environments. The new release introduces support for remote journaling, which can ease replication task management and drive better performance, particularly in high volume environments, the company says.
Bug Busters has been selling its Remote Software Facility product line for many years, but only in recent years has the Seattle, Washington, company altered the product to provide high availability functionality. Previously, RSF was used to chain AS/400s together for purposes such as distributing application upgrades.
As the market for entry-level high availability matured, Bug Busters started adding more HA-related functionality to the product, such as support for IFS files, record-level mirroring, and replication of data areas.
The addition of remote journaling provides one more check box for potential RSF-HA customers, says Bruce Lesnick, president of Bug Busters.
“It’s a buzzword people ask about,” he says. “It’s not always the key difference between one product or another, but for some people it was a benchmark. So we thought, what the heck, we’ll put it in there. It’s something people can use when it makes sense, and turn off when it doesn’t make sense.”
Lesnick has not been the biggest fan of remote journaling. A year ago, when RSF 8.1 was introduced, he talked about the “limitations” of remote journaling and the “extra configuration” required to run it. He’s not backing down from those statements, but he says there is a place for remote journaling.
“It has some limitations. For example, you can’t replicate to the same partition or library,” he says. “Also, remote journaling will send all the entries in the journal, even if there’s only one or two files you care about, so there’s no way to filter things that way. In some cases, remote journaling isn’t the right thing to use. But in others, it’s a solution that some customers wanted, and we wanted to make it available.”
RSF-HA 8.3 allows users to select the replication method to be used for given libraries and IFS folders. Libraries or folders used for high volume transactions may be a good candidate for remote journaling. In other areas, Bug Buster’s proprietary journal scrape method will work better, Lesnick says. “You can turn it on and off as it makes sense for a particular site and installation,” he says.
Other enhancements include more role-swap options. The new release allows users to swap or retain things like IP addresses and other configuration characteristics, allowing them to tailor the product to their environment. The software also brings new checks to help ensure that a role-swap cannot be initiated at the wrong time or in the wrong direction, Bug Busters says.
RSF-HA 8.3 also brings an improved control panel that lets the user manage all replication and journaling tasks from a central location. Users can even change synchronization attributes on the fly, which will update synchronization jobs already in progress.
Bug Busters has also enhanced the Work With Sync Attributes display to give users a more complete view of the entire replication process. The display shows all libraries, IFS directories, and system information being replicated as well as the current status of each item, the company says, and any errors can be seen at a glance and the user can drill down to view detailed logs.
RSF-HA 8.3 should also bring better performance, thanks to new commands and options that make it easier to isolate the impact of replication tasks from the rest of the system. Any needed subsystems, job queues, memory pools, and more are created for the user automatically, with their guidance, the company says.
RSF-HA 8.3 is available now. Pricing is unchanged from previous releases, at $5,000 to $7,000 per system. For more information, visit www.bugbusters.net.