IBM HyperSwap And Vision Solutions: Another View
August 18, 2014 Alex Woodie
The new HyperSwap functionality that debuted with IBM i 7.2 left some folks a bit puzzled as to how it fits into the overall high availability stack. Notably, an executive with logical replication software vendor Vision Solutions openly questioned whether HyperSwap furthers the HA and disaster recovery (DR) discussion at all. A Four Hundred Stuff reader weighs in on the issue.
HyperSwap is the new data resilience offering that became available this spring with PowerHA Express Edition. The technology, which IBM has been using in its System z mainframe for years, introduces a synchronous replication method that allows a production IBM i logical partition to be moved from one DS8700 storage array to another and restarted almost instantly.
In an interview with IT Jungle, Doug Piper, vice president of product strategy at Vision Solutions, wonders how another RAID-like technology is going to benefit the average IBM i shop, which probably isn’t going to have the wherewithal to buy one DS8700, let alone two.
“If you’ve already got all of the existing redundancy and disk technology, why is it critical to have yet another layer of redundancy on the storage? How much more value is that?” Piper said in IBM’s New HyperSwap A Head Scratcher for Some, which we published in June. “I just wouldn’t want people to be confused in thinking that, ‘Hey, I’m going to go do this HyperSwap technology, and now I don’t need a DR or an HA solution,’ because that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Not so fast, says a dear FHS reader, who questions Vision’s motive in speaking out against a technology from IBM, which does compete against Vision in the HA and DR market.
“I suspect that the reason this product seems misplaced is that Vision is making an initially facetious argument,” writes the reader, who didn’t provide his or her name. “HyperSwap isn’t designed to replace your existing HA. I don’t read much of IBM’s marketing material to determine if they may be insinuating that somewhere, but you won’t hear it from technical contacts. For what it’s worth, I’ve not seen them calling it a ‘DR’ solution anywhere. HA, yes. DR, no. It’s not DR by any real measurement.”
“HyperSwap (and truthfully Live Partition Mobility) are about addressing another fundamental issue: the path to truly zero downtime. IBM has had no real direct competition for a feature like ‘VMotion.’ That is the place for this product. Vision has no offering of a comparable nature, and I’m not sure it’s even possible for them to do so.
“Beyond that, this product doesn’t offer customers just another layer of failure. It offers them the ability to perform maintenance against equipment that isn’t running an active workload.”
“PowerHA with Metro/Global Mirror are the competition for Vision. They are two ways of obtaining the same fundamental redundancies. I’d take issue with the suggestion that IBM isn’t offering ‘HA and DR’ today. Because that’s exactly what those products are, and there are many former Vision customers using them as such.”
“You’re absolutely correct that HyperSwap won’t be an option for most customers. The cost of an extra set of hardware (hopefully in addition to your HA/DR hardware) to sit quietly waiting for a possible scenario is too high. However, there are businesses who desire true 24/7 uptime, and it gives IBM an out for defending against these ‘live transfer’ solutions from other hardware vendors.”