LXI Remerges with Re-Architected Backup Software for IBM i
May 24, 2011 Alex Woodie
LXI was at COMMON Minneapolis earlier this month displaying an early release of its new backup and tape management software for IBM i. The upcoming release of Media Management System (MMS) version 7.1, which is still in alpha, will shift storage of IBM i backup metadata and tape catalog information from the IBM i server it’s backing up to a central Windows Server. LXI says the move to consolidate media information will simplify backups for large, multi-server and multi-LPAR environments.
It could be difficult to navigate large multi-server and multi-LPAR environments with older releases of MMS, LXI representative Eddie Brown said at the COMMON show three weeks ago. The difficulty was due to the MMS media catalog, which is essentially a database that records which backups are on which tapes.
Because MMS installed a separate media catalog on each IBM i server that it was backing up, it was easy for an administrator to get confused when accessing media catalogs on multiple machines or LPARs. “Getting lost in Telnet land,” is how Brown described it.
That confusion will be a thing of the past once MMS 7.1 becomes available. With this release, MMS has ditched the multiple media database architecture in favor of a single, centralized media database that runs on SQL Server and Windows Server.
LXI says that, by centralizing the media information, users will gain greater control over their backups. The IBM i backup jobs will communicate with the central SQL Server-based catalog via TCP/IP, and use SSL encryption to protect the information. Built-in replication, using SQL Server services, will bolster the recoverability of media catalog information following an outage, the company says.
Users will also be able to view information on all current or past IBM i backup and recovery jobs through the graphical MMS Console. The MMS Console will also enable users to view and respond to IBM i messages as they occur across the network. IBM i customers will see an increase in DASD as a result of this move, the company says.
The move marks a “paradigm shift” for LXI, says Brown, who compared the new MMS design to the way Symantec‘s popular NetBackup works. “You don’t see this in the ‘400 world,” he says.
The architectural change to MMS does not effect where the actual backup data is stored. LXI still gives MMS users multiple options for that, including backing up to tape or to a virtual tape library (VTL), which LXI can provide.
MMS 7.1 had not yet hit the beta testing stage when LXI announced it in Minneapolis. General availability is expected during the third quarter. The company is looking at supporting Windows, Linux, and Unix with future releases of the re-architected MMS, Brown says.
LXI’s MMS has been a third-party competitor to IBM‘s BRMS and Help/Systems‘ popular Robot/SAVE backup solutions for many years. An ownership change of the Irving, Texas-based company in 2005 marked the beginning of the company’s shift into the VTL business. Initially it offered its own VTL, based on technology it acquired from Massachusetts-based TD Systems, and then through a reseller deal with Falconstor.
The company hit a rough patch around 2007, and went silent. In fact, the announcement LXI made earlier this month is the first for the company in more than four years. For more information, see the company’s website at www.lxicorp.com.