Vision Shares GUI Across IBM i and AIX HA Products
March 27, 2012 Alex Woodie
Vision Solutions may not have found the secret sauce that forces IBM i and AIX to lose the grumpiness and finally play nicely together in the same Power Systems sandbox. But when it comes to matters of high availability, the vendor will no longer tolerate any OS detachment that costs time in serious situations. With yesterday’s updates to MIMIX and Double-Take, administrators now have a single graphical user interface to monitor and manage critical HA processes occurring in both IBM i and AIX.
While AIX isn’t popular among midrange IBM i shops, a good number of larger companies run the two OSes side by side in large Power Systems servers. Because of their size, these customers long ago protected their operations against failure by implementing high availability and clustering software. Vision counts many of these large and influential companies as customers, mostly with MIMIX but also with Double-Take, which it acquired nearly two years ago.
These large customers naturally would like to eliminate any duplicate activities that must be performed separately on both environments. There is only a certain amount of consolidation of HA functions that’s possible, since no HA software vendor (not even IBM with PowerHA) develops a single HA product that supports both AIX and IBM i.
But with the launch of Double-Take for AIX version 4.0 and MIMIX Available for IBM i version 7.1, Vision now supports a single GUI management console for both environments. The big development here is the adoption of the Vision Solutions Portal (VSP) with its Double-Take line, providing a single console to monitor and manage HA activities on IBM i and AIX environments. The VSP debuted with the launch of MIMIX Availability 7 a year and a half ago.
VSP gives Power Systems administrators that “single pane of glass” for accomplishing daily HA chores, such as monitoring data and object replication, reviewing replication audits, checking exceptions, and resolving errors. The VSP is also used for executing role swaps during a disaster, including failing over to the backup system, and then switching back. Instead of maintaining separate and redundant consoles for AIX and IBM i, all major HA activities for the Power Systems server can be accomplished from one customizable management tool.
Extending the cross-platform HA management capability to Linux, Windows, and cloud HA offerings is also on Vision’s agenda, says Vision Solutions chief technology officer Alan Arnold.
“The combined release of MIMIX Availability 7.1 and Double-Take for AIX 4.0 under the same browser-based interface is an exciting step toward providing a single point of monitoring and control for Vision’s HA/DR solutions across platforms,” Arnold says in a press release. “We look forward to fulfilling this vision across all Vision solutions in Windows, Linux, IBM Power Systems, and cloud computing environments.”
Vision also sells Windows and Linux versions of Double-Take Availability. For IBM i, it sells iTERA Availability (formerly Echo2 when iTera owned it) and OMS/ODS, Vision’s original high availability product for the IBM i. Currently, however, only Double-Take Availability for AIX and MIMIX Availability support the VMS. Vision does offer the capability to manage IBM’s clustering-based PowerHA for IBM i high availability software with the MIMIX Global edition.
MIMIX Availability 7.1 introduces several IBM i-specific enhancements in the areas of replication performance, data monitoring and repair, and reporting.
Vision says all customers adopting the new MIMIX release will see a boost in data and object replication as a result of “performance tuning in the journal reader,” explains Vision product manager Bill Hammond.
But certain environments will see “truly outstanding gains,” the vendor says. Specifically, Vision has made enhancements in several aspects of MIMIX, including its handling of: multiple data groups; long commit cycles; large IFS environments; locks on target-side databases; and applications that frequently rollback changes. “The more factors that apply to a customer’s environment, the greater the boost they will see in their replication performance,” Hammond says.
The way that MIMIX monitors data and object replication will change with this release. MIMIX customers will no longer be tied to performing periodic audits to ensure that data and objects are properly synchronized. Much more synch checking will be done between audits.
For example, Vision has introduced new data monitoring capabilities for the target system to ensure that data and objects remain in sync between audits. If the data or object is changed, MIMIX alerts the administrator in real time. If a problem is found, it will be addressed automatically according to policy, instead of waiting for the next audit.
When full audits are done, they will execute faster and consume fewer resources thanks to new audit prioritization capabilities in MIMIX that allow administrators to customize their audits based on how often objects change.
Vision has an eye on system performance with this release. For example, MIMIX now includes new reports that show the level of transaction activity in a customer’s system and its impact on high availability activities.
Vision also added an IBM i system monitor and optimization product, called iOptimize, to MIMIX. The product, which was formerly sold separately and known as MIMIX Director, includes new features aimed at ensuring good system utilization.
Double-Take Availability for AIX 4.0 also includes new features that support the DR and continuous data protection (CDP) features of IBM PowerHA. It also delivers better recovery point objective (RPO) and support for IPv6.
Vision will discuss the new enhancements tomorrow at 10 a.m. CDT in a webcast titled “A New View of IBM Power Systems Availability.” To register for the webcast, go to www.visionsolutions.com/webforms/EventList.aspx?EventType=webcasts.