PowerHA Installs Exceed 2,000 Globally, IBM Says
February 19, 2013 Alex Woodie
More than 2,000 customers around the world are using PowerHA SystemMirror for IBM i, says Steve Finnes, IBM‘s worldwide product offering manager for PowerHA on AIX and IBM i. And with new HA capabilities for small and midsize businesses arriving with the IBM i 7.1 TR6 release of the software, the number of customers running PowerHA on smaller systems like the Power 720 is likely to grow.
PowerHA SystemMirror for IBM i is one product, but it actually refers to a variety of protection schemes that utilize different data replication mechanisms and are aimed at companies of varying sizes. For example, large enterprises that have more than 2 TB of IBM i stored on large IBM SANs will likely utilize the Global Mirror or Metro Mirror feature of PowerHA Enterprise Edition, which utilizes data replication mechanisms built into big SANs like the DS8000.
Meanwhile, smaller shops with less than 2 TB of data will likely be pointed to the geographic mirroring functionality of PowerHA Standard Edition, which works with internal DASD and utilizes an IP-based replication protocol and which consumes CPW on the IBM i server itself. (Geographic mirroring can also be used with external storage, which adds to the confusion of this complex offering, but mostly it’s used with internal disk, according to Finnes.)
The variety of protection schemes available to smaller shops increases with the upcoming launch of the TR6 version of PowerHA, which brings support for LUN-level switching capabilities in smaller SANs, including the Storwize V3700, Storwize V7000, and Storwize SAN Volume Controller (SVC).
LUN-level switching allows customers to failover–or vary production workloads on and off–between two or more IBM i application servers that are connected to a single database hosted in an iASP residing on a SAN. This HA topology actually doesn’t use replication at all, and is a model that’s more prevalent in the open systems world. Up to this point, LUN-level switching has only been available with PowerHA on big SANs like the DS8000. For more on this, see “PowerHA Brings New Data Protection Options For Midsize Shops” in yesterday’s issue of The Four Hundred.
Finnes says LUN-level switching will bring another HA option to smaller IBM i shops with smaller IT budgets. “With the Storwize V3700, and its price point, it really opens up the storage technology capabilities to a much, much wider audience,” he says.
A low starting price point also gives IBM an advantage in building out its PowerHA for IBM i business. IBM offers three tiers for both PowerHA IBM i editions, segmented into small, medium, and large. Pricing for Standard Edition is $2,500 per processor core for the small tier, $3,500 per core for the medium tier, and $4,500 for the large tier. Pricing for Enterprise Edition is $3,250 per core for the small tier, $5,000 per core for the medium tier, and $6,500 per core for the large tier.
Finnes says he has plenty of IBM i customers running PowerHA Standard Edition on a single core of a Model 720 server, thereby giving them protection for a starting price of $5,000. And of those 2,000 PowerHA for IBM i customers worldwide, the Model 720 is the most popular machine, Finnes says.
As more customers consider external storage, the adoption rate of PowerHA will continue to rise, Finnes says. “I think a lot of our clients are choosing to go the [external] storage route,” he says. “Once you’ve gone the storage route, in all likelihood, you’re going to use storage replication services.”
So if you thought that PowerHA was only a solution for the biggest IBM i shops, think again. The biggest chunk of PowerHA customers actually run on the smallest Power Systems server and that trend will likely continue.