Rocket Adds IBM i Support to Backup Reporting Tool
December 14, 2016 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops that find it difficult to track the state of their backups across IBM and non IBM platforms may want to check out the latest product news from Rocket Software. Last week the company announced that its Servergraph Professional product now supports IBM i, thereby enabling customers to view BRMS backup status alongside that of other backup tools, like NetBackup and TSM.
Considering the amount of data stored by the average enterprise these days, it’s clear that backup has transformed into a major application workload in its own right. Ensuring the integrity of backups has always been important, but growing data volumes, shrinking backup windows, and increasingly heterogeneous computing environments conspire to add drama where IT professionals prefer peace and quiet.
Rocket Software has attacked this problem for years with Servergraph Professional, a Web-based product designed to provide a “single pane of glass” for monitoring backups occurring across a range of platforms, including Windows, Unix, virtual, and cloud environments. The product supported a wide range of backup products, including the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) products (now called Spectrum Protect), Veritas products like NetBackup and BackupExec, EMC products like Data Domain, Avamar, and Networker, Quantum DXi, and Microsoft DPM, among others.
When it detects an issue, Servergraph Professional immediately sends alerts to the on-call administrator, thereby helping to prevent small issues from snowballing into major problems. It also includes capacity planning features, thereby helping customers plan their backup processes across the enterprise. The product helped Fiserv, the Wisconsin-based developer of enterprise software for banks and insurance companies, eliminate the need to have backup administrators on call for 16 hours per week to monitor hundreds of servers, according to a case study on Rocket’s website.
Servergraph Professional has supported nearly all platforms–that is, except for one pretty important one: IBM i. The Waltham, Massachusetts, vendor rectified that shortcoming by adding IBM i support into the product with the latest release.
Specifically, the software now sports hooks into BRMS and the IBM i OS itself. Now, when BRMS fails to execute a save, a notification will appear on the Servergraph Professional dashboard, right next to failed Windows and Linux backups. It will also send an alert, via email or SNMP, and give the administrator insight into BRMS objects and statuses, as well as a complete history of backup activities over time.
“It goes beyond command-line log analysis,” the company says, “and proactively monitors your entire IBM i environment across servers and their associated applications via a single view.”
Hooks into the IBM i OS enables the software to monitor key storage parameters, such as ASP usage and trends. It also can monitor general performance metrics, like CPU, memory, and latency, which can be important elements in tracking down backup problems.
Dan Magid–who holds the Rocket titles of vice president of applications development, chief technologist, and IBM i evangelist–says the software gives IBM i shops a unique capability that was previously unavailable.
“Many data protection tools have their own reporting capabilities, but they only monitor themselves,” Magid says in a press release. “That can make it hard for administrators to isolate and identify backup or storage issues until they cause outages and downtime.”
The new IBM i functionality in Servergraph Professional makes it easier to resolve potential problems before they occur, Magid continues. “Most enterprise companies have data in many different locations, on many different devices,” he says. “For the first time ever, companies can monitor and manage their IBM i backup environments alongside all of their other storage technologies.”
The software also hooks into Rocket iCluster, the company’s high availability software for IBM i, where it provides at-a-glance views of the health of iCluster and the underlying servers. It also delivers a list of iCluster node statuses, communicates the status of replication groups, and a history of the status of replication groups.
Servergraph doesn’t currently work with any other backup products, such as HelpSystems Robot/SAVE, which has a fair number of users in the IBM i community. However, Rocket is open to adding support for other backup products as customers’ needs dictate, a spokesman for the company tells IT Jungle.
According to the Servergraph Professional for IBM i FAQ on Rocket’s website, the software collects data from the IBM i server without the use of agents, which can impact performance. Customers can use the pre-built dashboards, or build their own custom reports, which they can automatically distribute via email or have archived.
While Servergraph Professional can cover IBM i backups, it doesn’t run on IBM i. The software requires a server running AIX or Linux, according to Rocket’s website, while the client runs on any Web browser. Pricing is about $2,500 for one process module; one process module is required for each covered LPAR. For more info, see www.rocketsoftware.com.