IBM Debuts ‘HyperSwap’ With PowerHA Express Edition
May 5, 2014 Alex Woodie
As part of the IBM i 7.2 announcements last week, IBM introduced PowerHA Express Edition, a new variant of its hardware-based high availability (HA) clustering software. The new Express Edition implements a mainframe-based technology called HyperSwap, which will allow users to move and restart an LPAR on a different IBM SAN array almost instantaneously, IBM says.
PowerHA SystemMirror for IBM i is a (rather complex) collection of products and services that enable organizations of various sizes to implement a variety of hardware-based protection schemes, as opposed to software-based logical replication schemes, such as those sold by Vision Solutions, Maxava, and others. Up to this point, users had two PowerHA choices: Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition.
PowerHA Standard Edition was designed primarily for midsize companies that needed to protect smaller amounts of data (less than 2 TB of data) in a single data center environment. It primarily uses a geographic mirroring data replication technology, and was primarily used with a Power System server’s internal DASD. Geo mirroring is IP-based, which means it consumes CPW on the IBM i server.
At the high end, you have your PowerHA Enterprise Edition, which is designed to help bigger companies protect larger amounts of data (more than 2 TB) in a multi-site setup. PowerHA Enterprise Edition utilized geo mirroring, as well as the Global Mirror or Metro Mirror data replication technologies built into big honking SAN arrays, like the DS8800. With the launch of IBM i 7.1 Technology Refresh 6 last year, IBM added LUN-level switching to the PowerHA lineup, allowing the product to work with smaller IBM SANs, like the Storwize V3700, Storwize V5000 (new), Storwize V7000, and Storwize SAN Volume Controller (SVC).
The introduction of the Express Edition and its HyperSwap capability provides an entirely new wrinkle to the PowerHA lineup. According to IBM, the Express Edition “is designed to be the foundation for a class of HA/DR offerings based on restarting the LPAR into another LPAR on a different server for HA operations.”
The key point here is that the DB2/400 data is not placed into a IASP separate from SYSBAS. Instead, “the primary LPAR is restarted, or IPLd, to [a] target LPAR on another server,” IBM says. “With PowerHA 7.2 for IBM i, the first stage of the Express Edition offering enables single node full system HyperSwap with the DS8700 (and above), which provides customers with continuously available storage through either planned or unplanned storage events.”
The fact that HyperSwap is available in the Express Edition packaging is a bit of a misnomer. For starters, it requires a DS8700, the biggest SAN array that IBM sells. Even the Standard Edition works with smaller, less expensive storage hardware. In any event, it provides IBM i customers with yet another option to protect their data and support continuous operations of their applications.
The FlashCopy backup feature has also been bolstered with this release. IBM says a single independent target LPAR can now host FlashCopies from multiple clusters. The target partition no longer must be a member of a cluster, IBM says, thereby enabling a single flash LPAR for all of the clusters in an enterprise.
Version 7.2 also brings an increased limit in Admin Domain from 25,000 objects to 45,000 objects; and automated synchronization of object authority and ownership between nodes in the cluster.