Vision Gets Serious About Hosted HA with MIMIX 8
November 4, 2014 Alex Woodie
Hosted high availability (HA) has been one of the top solutions that managed service providers (MSPs) have sold to IBM i shops over the past five years. But the HA market’s leader, Vision Solutions, has largely sat on the sidelines due to overly complicated licensing. The company hopes that starts to change with today’s launch of MIMIX 8.0, which introduces metered billing designed specifically for cloud HA.
The new metered billing feature in MIMIX 8.0 should make it easier for MSPs that are Vision’s business partners to sell hosted HA, says Becky Hjellming, senior manager of product strategy for Vision.
“For both MIMIX Availability and MIMX DR, they [MSPs] now have a licensing option that they can offer this on a metered basis, where we are essentially billing them on a month by month basis for what their customers use,” Hjellming says. “We think that will be attractive for users who don’t have a secondary server, who don’t have the expertise to manage it, who don’t have something remote, but who want that DR service handled by somebody else.”
Previously, MSPs that wanted to use MIMIX to offer HA as a service had to buy a certain number of licenses for MIMIX and track their usage at client sites. Vision didn’t differentiate between on-premise installations of MIMIX and those that are going into the cloud, and that lack of differentiation hurt an MSP’s ability to close a deal.
“It’s very easy for them to go in and quote” with the new metered billing system, Hjellming says. “Sometimes when small folks come in, they can’t really tolerate a protracted sales cycle and a long time to get that quote put together [with the old approach]. So this makes it easy for them to move forward.”
One MSP that’s eager to try out the new metered billing capability is Focal Point Solutions Group, a Florida-based startup founded earlier this year by Ron Venzin. The company will host secondary IBM i servers in its data center space, and keep them up-to-date and ready for use with Vision’s HA software.
“The old pricing methodology made it very difficult for us,” Venzin tells IT Jungle. “If I had to go out and buy the licenses for the customer and the maintenance as perpetual licenses, our ROI becomes very difficult to get to, and it makes it very difficult to be cost effective for us and for the customer. Metered billing is going to allow us to really streamline and charge a customer exactly what they’re going to be using, versus charging them just for the P group.”
It seemed as though Vision had already launched metered billing way back in February 2013, when Vision told IT Jungle that it had just introduced metered billing in MIMIX. But, it turns out that it wasn’t true metered billing after all, and required a lot of manual reporting.
“We were not metering,” Hjellming says. “It was very manual. We had an arrangement called term use licensing so it was more of a manual process where they had to report back to us what they were using. Now we’re doing it in a more automated fashion.”
The whole process has been automated in MIMIX 8, Hjellming promises. The software will automatically report exactly how much capacity was consumed on the primary server. The setup largely tracks with CPU or CPWs used by the applications being protected (not the total capacity of the machine), she says. And all of the license key generation and renewals is automated too.
“It makes it so much easy for [MSPs] to model the business that they’re trying to put together,” Hjellming says. “It’s very simple for them. . . . We’re not going to have to do as much interfacing with people to submit orders, get pricing, get license keys, new licensed keys. It’s a much more automated system and an easier way for them to work with us.”
MIMIX 8.0, which has been available for some time, brings several other enhancements to the HA functionality itself, including:
Vision has also changed its MIMIX product packaging as it pertains to supporting clustering and supporting IBM’s PowerHA software. The company previously sold a product called MIMIX Global that offered both of these things–support for multi-site replication setups using clustering and providing the replication for objects that PowerHA can’t replicate.
Vision decided that was confusing, so it decided to break out the PowerHA object replication capabilities into a new product called MIMIX for PowerHA.