Vision Adds Security To HA Management Service
October 23, 2017 Alex Woodie
Fresh off its acquisition of Enforcive, Vision Solutions last week unveiled a new managed resilience service that adds professional IBM i security services to its managed offering for high availability and disaster recovery.
As part of its managed HA and DR services, Vision Solutions (which has been merged with Syncsort) works with customers to ensure that their MIMIX, iTera, and OMS/ODS environments are shipshape and read to be called into duty in the event of an unexpected outage or natural disaster.
Now Vision is adding the same type of options to its managed security service and selling it alongside its HA/DR managed service, says Edward Vesely, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Vision Solutions. “Vision Solutions previously offered only managed HA/DR services. This marks the addition of Managed Security, and the two services combine to provide comprehensive Managed Resilience.”
IBM i shops can choose their level of service by picking one of four service level agreement (SLA) buckets for both security and HA/DR, including Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
For HA/DR, Bronze is the least expensive service, and guarantees that Vision (or its partner) will check on the customer’s HA/DR setup once per week and audit the system as needed. Customers who want daily checkups to occur Monday through Friday must move up to Silver, which also adds support for object repairs (fixing these application-related snafus is the customers’ responsibility with Bronze).
Moving up to the Gold package for HA/DR means the customer doesn’t have to worry about installing product fixes or service packs. Gold also makes the customer eligible for version upgrades and training, and gets them an annual HA audit. Platinum customers get all of the above, plus an annual HA role swap readiness review and a role swap test.
In addition to these four SLA buckets, Vision offers several “a la carte” options that customers can choose from. The Vision Solutions Managed Services PLUS ensures the customers that Vision will watch the systems 365 days a year, but only during office hours. For an extra fee, customers can also get 24×7 support. Additional metrics, such as recovery point objective (RPO) analysis, can also be purchased for the weekly report.
Perhaps the most valuable option Vision is offering is its Unplanned Switch Assistance. This offering gives the customer the right to receive training on conducting failovers for planned or unplanned events. It also brings the customer a guarantee that Vision will “drive your unplanned switch.” This could be a particularly good option to have in the event that the training was insufficient or the client felt overwhelmed during a disaster.
“We will even switch back to the original production service,” Vision says in its promotional materials. However, the offering makes no guarantees that the customers’ data will be saved. “This is not a data analysis or data recovery service,” the company points out.
While the offering includes managed services provided by employees of Vision or one of its business partners, the offering does not entail Vision actually hosting the HA applications and secondary server as part of a managed service provider (MSP) agreement, says Terry Plath, vice president of global services for Syncsort.
“This is an application managed service offering, not a hosting offering, staffed by Vision but able to be subcontracted to our MSP partners,” Plath tells IT Jungle via email. “We are not competing with our MSP partners; we do not host. Customer (or partner) owns/manages the hardware, we manage the HA and Security products/environments.”
Vision is using the same SLA buckets to sell a new managed security service based on its Enforcive software acquired in July. The Bronze offering gets the client a monthly security review, in addition to an annual security risk assessment. Moving up to Silver get the client a weekly security review and a guarantee that Vision will adjust security configurations as needed.
The Gold security offering gets IBM i shops more, including installation of product hotfixes and program temporary fixes (PTFs). It also nets the customer upgrades to their Enforcive security software and a feature review and training session. Moving up to the Platinum offering gets the customer daily intrusion detection monitoring, as well as access to Enforcive’s automated auditor assistance functionality, which it calls AuditorAssist.
Vision sees security and high availability as two ends of the same stick. “You tell me the difference: If I can’t have my system because somebody’s hijacked it, or it’s down because of an earthquake. The system is down regardless,” Vision executive vice president and CTO Alan Arnold told IT Jungle in July following the Enforcive acquisition.
The fact that security and high availability solutions for IBM i utilize the same journaling functionality built into the operating system also helps to bind these two disciplines at a technological level. What’s more, IT decision makers on and off the IBM i platform have repeatedly highlighted the need for better security and better business continuity as the most important aspects of their IT strategy in 2017.
With that mind, it’s not so odd to see Vision joining security and HA at the hip. “Business resilience requires a multi-layered strategy, combining HA/DR, security, and managed services to envelop and protect critical systems and data, whether at rest or in motion,” Plath says in a press release.
“While organizations often purchase applications for HA/DR and security with the intent of handling tasks in-house,” Platt continues, “many quickly realize this may not be the best approach for a variety of reasons, from limited IT staff to lack of requisite expertise. Vision Solutions delivers the special skillsets required and removes burdens from IT staff by handling the day-to-day management of resilient environments.”