SoftLanding Latest ISV To Add iASP Support
April 1, 2015 Alex Woodie
The issue of whether to support independent auxiliary storage pools (iASPs) in your IBM i setup is not one to be taken lightly. For starters, just migrating from traditional ASPs to iASPs can be a major project, and your software will need to be tweaked to support it. While IBM i shops are moving to adopt iASPs, the growth is slow and steady rather than a mad dash. But for SoftLanding Systems, demand for iASPs was enough to justify modifying its change management tool, Turnover, to support the technology.
iASPs debuted with the platform way back in 2001 with the launch of OS/400 V5R1 as a way to keep multiple storage pools (including DB2/400 database files) separate, which came in handy for several scenarios, including server consolidation, bureau-style application hosting, and separation of development, test, and production systems. Over the years, iASP has evolved to become the primary technology driver of high availability setups, including IBM‘s hardware-based PowerHA lineup.
As one would expect with any “new” technology (even one that’s been around for 14 years now), iASP usage has been the highest among the biggest IBM i shops that do the most server consolidation projects, host the most IBM i instances for clients, or have the most sophisticated HA setups. Over the years, as the technology matured, iASP usage has started to trickle down into more of your traditional “midrange” shops. But one still wouldn’t consider iASP usage widespread, even after the Large AS/400 User Group (LUG) issued a call to arms for ISVs to support iASPs back in 2011.
Several IBM i ISVs that are not in the HA or DR spaces have trotted out support for iASPs since the LUGs request, including HelpSystems and Halcyon Software (now owned by Help) in 2013; Kisco Information Systems and Profound Logic in 2014. IT Jungle does its best to showcase those vendors who continue to invest in the future of their products and address their customers’ needs. Nevertheless, this is likely not a complete list.
The latest vendor to come out in support of iASPs is SoftLanding, the UNICOM Systems subsidiary that’s based in New Hampshire. Jim Fisher, SoftLanding’s operations manager, recently shared some views about iASP adoption among his customers.
“We’re not seeing ‘strong’ demand yet, but we do have a number of customers running TurnOver for iSeries v100 in iASP environments,” he says via email. “I expect interest (and adoption of iASPs) to grow going forward, so this is an important area of development for us.”
TurnOver, of course, is SoftLanding’s change management system for IBM i environments. According to Fisher, SoftLanding supports iASPs in two ways, including through the native 5250 interface and through its Eclipse-based development plug-in.
“By bringing in support for iASPs we are helping companies that use these storage pools to segregate their business applications and take advantage of attaching storage resources to alternative logical, or in some cases, physical systems, as and when necessary,” Fisher explains. “This can significantly reduce application downtime whilst providing much needed flexibility for high availability, disaster recovery, and offline backup requirements.”
In addition to supporting iASPs within TurnOver, SoftLanding has also added iASP support to Central for iMenu, which provides menu management capabilities to enable IBM i administrators to control what appears on users’ screens. The new releases of both of these products (TurnOver and Central for iMenu) will automatically detect whether a user is running iASPs and alter the installation accordingly.
It’s good to see SoftLanding taking up the call to support iASPs. While some of its competitors in the change management business (including Aldon, which is now owned by Rocket Software) have supported iASPs for more than 10 years, it is not too late to address the changes needed to enable IBM i customers to move forward with this important technology.