Bug Busters Fine-Tunes Budget-Minded HA Offering
September 22, 2009 Alex Woodie
What can you expect to get with an i OS high availability software offering that costs between $10,000 and $15,000? With last week’s release of Bug Busters Software Engineering‘s Remote Software Facility-HA, you can expect to find new features like a source-to-target compare feature, new archive and refresh functions, and a check-point reset feature for restarting interrupted role swaps. These come on top of core HA features that are leading some System i shops to consider RSF-HA for their HA and DR needs.
Bug Busters has been continually adding new features to RSF-HA over the past three years since it debuted a special version of RSF that got its HA ball rolling with the addition of two key features: the capability to synchronize OS/400 objects and IFS files. Previous to this, RSF was used primarily by ISVs and big AS/400 shops for distributing OS/400 libraries and software updates en masse among a network of dozens or hundreds of AS/400s.
Over the years, Bug Busters checked off more “must have” HA features, such as record-level mirroring; the capability to perform role-swaps; the replication of data areas, spooled files, message queues; and support for remote journaling-powered replication, which was added with the most recent release of RSF-HA nine months ago.
Now, with RSF-HA version 8.4, Bug Busters is once again adding new capabilities designed to help customers with particular problems and situations that are unique to high availability environments.
For example, the new compare feature in RSF-HA (as well as the base version of RSF) allows users to compare the contents of replicated i OS libraries and IFS directories, to see if they’re in synch. If the contents of the libraries or directories don’t match up perfectly, RSF-HA will display which objects or files that aren’t in synch, and give the user the option of forcing the data or objects to be refreshed during the next synchronization interval.
This feature provides options for how “deep” the comparisons should go. For a relatively quick comparison that still yields good results, Bug Busters recommends comparing just the object attributes. A more thorough analysis can be performed on data files that checks key file attributes, record length, the current number of records, and the number of deleted records, among other things.
For the most stringent comparison, Bug Busters allows users to compare file data. The company says that, if even a single byte in the files differs, RSF-HA will detect the difference and let you know. Objects can also be compared down to the library level, or filtered by object types or generic names, the company says.
The new releases of RSF and RSF-HA also include a new archive and refresh feature that should come in handy for rolling back the server to an earlier state after a change has been made or a test has been performed, such as a role swap test.
After a role swap has been performed, users often are curious whether the two systems are in synch (which is where the new compare feature discussed above comes into play). If the libraries or IFS directors are not in the condition the user expects, they can easily roll it back to an earlier state using this feature.
The archive and refresh feature will eliminate any changes made to the data, including removing any new objects that may have been created, restoring any objects that may have been deleted, and putting all objects back into their original state.
Bug Busters has also improved the role swap function itself in RSF 8.4. During a role swap–particularly unplanned failovers during disasters–there are often a lot of things going on that a systems administrator must keep tabs on. An admin could easily get side tracked from the RSF role swap function.
Now, with this release, Bug Busters has added a new check-point restart feature that makes it easy for the administrator to pick up where he left off during the role swap process. This feature includes new status messages that inform the administrator of exactly he was in the role swap process so he can pick up quickly and resume the role swap.
Bug Busters now has many of the core HA features in place, and now the company will look to take the RSF-HA product up a notch by developing support for clustering in the software, says Bruce Lesnick, the company’s CEO. “Support for clustering is now one of our top priorities,” he says.
Pricing has not changed for RSF-HA version 8.4 from previous versions, and remains at $5,000 to $7,000 per server (making the total cost of a two-way mirrored setup between $10,000 and $14,000). For more information, please visit www.bugbusters.net.