Interest in Simulated Role Swaps the Real Deal, Maxava Says
September 17, 2013 Alex Woodie
In high availability, preparation is everything. If you fail to get your systems ready for a disaster, there is little chance they’ll survive it unscathed. To that end, high availability software vendor Maxava says the simulated role swap (SRS) function in its high-end HA product, which allows customers to practice a role swap without actually triggering any downtime, is gaining popularity.
The SRS functionality in Maxava Enterprise+ gives customers the capability to test applications residing on the backup system without the need to perform an actual role swap or failover. The feature works by simulating the process of turning the backup system into the primary system, without affecting the actual production machine, and without requiring users to log off the production system.
The SRS feature temporarily prevents updates from being applied to the backup system. When exiting SRS mode, the two systems require some time so they can re-sync.
Also, in addition to testing the apps as they stand at the current moment, the SRS feature allows users to simulate the apps and perform data integrity checks against data at previous points in time. It’s all aimed at giving customers the confidence that their Maxava software is running well and will be ready to execute a failover if called upon.
Maxava says the SRS feature is becoming increasingly popular, especially with the shrinking backup windows and tight regulatory compliance requirements that organizations face today. SRS is not a replacement for full tests, but it can help organizations better prepare for a full test by identifying potential problems before a full test is run.
SRS is also helping smooth any rough edges that can turn up during IBM i OS upgrades. One of Maxava’s Enterprise+ customers who benefited from SRS during an upgrade is Florida East Coast Railway, which operates 351 miles of railway track in Florida.
Lester Hightower, a VP of IT for Florida East Coast Railway, says SRS was instrumental in keeping the company’s IBM i environment functioning properly during a recent upgrade from i5/OS V5R4 to IBM i 7.1.
As Hightower explains: “We would go into SRS mode on our new V7R1 platform for extended and unabridged application testing, and then out of SRS mode to allow the V7R1 platform to re-sync with our V5R4 production,” he says. “We would then remedy any application issues found during the last cycle of SRS testing on V7R1, in preparation for the next SRS test cycle.”
SRS allows for a “very controlled, methodical, and measured approach to OS upgrades,” Hightower continues. “Going forward it will allow us to perform end-to-end application testing on our backup system without any interruption to our primary environment.”
Maxava’s chief business continuity officer (CBCO) Richard Dolewski hosted a webinar last week that discusses the merits of the SRS functionality. A replay of the webinar is available at here.