City Touts PowerHA Install
October 14, 2014 Alex Woodie
The folks who work for the city of St. Charles, Illinois, asked themselves some tough questions recently. What would happen if the city were hit by a tornado or succumbed to some other disaster? The answers were not pretty, and led the city to adopt high availability software from IBM and a local business partner, IT Solutions Group.
Like many municipalities around the country, St. Charles relies on an IBM i server to manage the business aspects of running a principality. The city’s electric, water, and sewer services are managed on an IBM i server.
If the city was hit by a severe storm that damaged the server or the data center, those services could be put at risk. Peggy Forster, director of information systems for the city 40 miles west of Chicago, analyzed the situation.
“The answer was unacceptable,” she says in a case study recently posted to the IT Solutions Group website. “It would have taken us at least a week to get back up. We would have had to order and install a new server and then install applications and data.”
Forster worked with IT Solutions Group to come up with three high availability options. First, the city could sign up for hot site services. Second, it could install a logical replication-based HA offering. Lastly, the city looked at IBM PowerHA, a disk-based replication offering.
The city chose PowerHA with the GeoMirror replication option. “We liked the ‘set it and done’ character of PowerHA,” Forster says. “It requires less intervention and ongoing management. Other solutions required more monitoring and maintenance or longer recovery times. PowerHA for i GeoMirror provides close to instant recovery. It’s the best of both worlds and was one of the lowest cost options.”
St. Charles upgraded its System i Model 520 to a Power Systems Model 720 in its main data center, and purchased a second Model 720 server to serve as the hot backup.
The city used PowerHA GeoMirror, the IP-based mirroring mechanism, to replicate changes made on the primary system to the secondary system. The primary and the backup servers are just a mile apart, and are connected by dual 10 Gbps Fibre Channel lines, so any update on the IBM i server is replicated and applied nearly instantly.
“This is an excellent solution for SMB customers with disk space requirements under 2 TB,” says Pete Mayhew of IT Solutions Group. “We have done many successful installations with this configuration.”
IT Solutions Group is a Chicago-based IBM business partner that specializes in selling and implementing IBM i high availability software and services. The company sells PowerHA and HA logical replication software from Maxava. It also maintains two data centers, one in Chicago and one in Florida. For more info see www.i-tsgcloud.com/.