Vision Preps New Release of iTera Availability
November 27, 2012 Alex Woodie
Vision Solutions is gearing up to deliver a new release of its iTera Availability high availability software in early 2013. iTera Availability 6.1 is already in limited release, and when it becomes generally available next quarter, it will bring enhancements in several areas, including faster replication through expanded use of remote journaling, new auditing and reporting features, and improved installation and configuration processes, Vision representatives say.
iTera Availability is one of three high availability products for IBM i servers offered by Vision Solutions. The remote journaling-based product is geared toward the small and midsize business (SMB) end of the market, and has been in use for more than 10 years.
John Dunn, Vision’s product manager for iTera Availability, shared details about version 6.1 during a webcast two weeks ago. The enhancements fall into three main areas of benefits, including replication, auditing and reporting, and installation and configuration.
Revved Up Replication
In the replication department, expanded use of IBM‘s remote journaling technology is the biggest piece of news. While the software already made extensive use of remote journaling–in fact, iTera was instrumental in popularizing the technology in the early 2000s–there were some areas of the product that continued to rely on TCP-based transport mechanisms.
“With iTera 6.1, what we decided to do is to remove a number of the remote SQL and DDM-based processes away from those TCP-type utilities and into the IBM remote journaling world,” Dunn said during the November 20 webcast. “What this buys us is proven replication and trusted technology that gets the inner-process communications between the source and target systems in a more reliable state.”
Other benefits of expanding the use of remote journaling include faster object synchronizations and faster role swaps. “The remote journaling also buys us faster virtual role swap recovery times,” Dunn says. “What that means is, for customers with high volumes of data, a significant improvement in the recovery time following a virtual role swap,” he says.
iTera 6.1 also gains some of the auditing and reporting capabilities that Vision had used in other products, which brings benefits in the areas of performance, IBM i object coverage, and enhanced visibility into system operation.
“What we’ve done is imported Vision’s best of breed IBM i auditing technology into the iTera 6.1 product. What this does for us is it dramatically improves the performance and availability of audits in iTera 6.1,” Dunn says. “It also provides an expanded audit coverage of over 200 objects and attributes, including a new feature not available in iTera 6.0, which is handling LOB [large object] data and stored procedures.”
New reports bring better visibility into the activities in iTera Availability, including those in the queue and those already running. The new reports also give administrators and auditors the capability to view results from past audits on an object level, and to look at the repair history, Dunn says.
Configuring with Confidence
The third and final area of focus with iTera 6.1 is installation and configuration, which is now based on the same wizard-based installation process that Vision used in other products. Moving to a standard installation and upgrade process will provide a consistent experience for users, Dunn says.
“If there’s an install that’s happening or an upgrade you need to do in terms of service packs and or install patches, it’s all via the same technology, and that ensures us that there’s a consistent package size, and makes sure that your install times are consistent,” he says. “There’s no time penalty with installing service packs.”
The actions needed to fine tune the product for optimal performance can now be accomplished from one screen, Dunn says. Vision also improved the help text to ensure the user understands parameters values and what they represent. Also, any discrepancies between the in-product help text and the user manual have been eliminated. “The F1 help behind the screens is perfectly equivalent to what’s in the PDF manuals,” Dunn says.
iTera 6.1 has been in limited release since March, but is still currently in beta, with general availability slated for the first quarter of 2013, says Dunn, who is welcoming more testers. For more information, see www.visionsolutions.com.