Maxava Monitor Mi8 And The Cloud Fuels Expansion
February 28, 2022 Ash Giddings
Let’s face it – IBM i used to be an island. Set adrift from other platforms due to its loveable quirkiness and frequently managed by a separate team. It was often considered a real outlier. In recent years IBM has worked tirelessly to make IBM i running on Power Systems feel part of the mainstream server ensemble and is now thought by many as a normal server while managing to maintain what had previously made it unique.
As a result, IBM i is now much more likely to be managed alongside other infrastructure than ever before. The green screen only method of conducting system administration has been eclipsed by the impressive new IBM Navigator for i along with the ever-improving Access Client Solutions and flexibility offered by the integrated Db2 for i Services. With more open source applications being made available on IBM i with each Technology Refresh, there has never been a better time to be running IBM i.
In addition, fuelled in part by the pandemic, as well as the desire to modernize, businesses are looking to the cloud to run not only development and test virtual machines but increasingly, production workloads. As part of this modernization initiative comes the opportunity to re-evaluate both monitoring, and high availability and disaster recovery tools across estates.
In the past quarter, Maxava has extended its global footprint with new partnerships formed in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Turkey along with inroads into a number of African territories plus the Middle East. Although the growth has been broad, it can be attributed to three distinct areas, each of which involve looking at age old problems and applying modern approaches.
A current trend seen in the market is businesses looking to both modernize and standardize their monitoring tool of choice. Why have two or three different tools, often bereft of any recent enhancements and each requiring specialists, when one modern tool will suffice. In these modern times there should be no requirement to have to deploy any on-premise infrastructure. Cloud-based monitoring of your estate, irrespective of location or underlying platform is the very progressive way to go.
Monitor Mi8 is a modern solution designed for platforms that includes IBM i, Linux, AIX, and Windows, along with an OpenAPI component enabling you to monitor literally anything to provide total visibility across disparate infrastructure. The solution is cloud-based, comes complete with quick deployment methods, and has in-built escalation and flexible alerting qualities. Resilience also comes as standard with failover capabilities by way of primary and secondary cloud consoles residing on the IBM Cloud.
An increasingly evident movement, aided by businesses looking to do more with less resources, along with talent retiring is System Administrators being tasked with the management of unfamiliar platforms and estates. Maxava Monitor Mi8 being completely browser-based goes some way in helping these personnel to become more comfortable by putting distance between them and any archaic command line interfaces still in use.
Monitor Mi8 is also a very attractive proposition for managed service providers challenged by the restrictions that managing multi-tenant environments presents. Being cloud-based, Maxava Monitor Mi8 isn’t reliant upon Virtual Provide Networks (VPNs), and instead monitoring and centralized alerting is handled by a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection between the monitored servers and the console. Alerting comes in the form of email, SMS, text-to-speech, Apple Push and even a Tweet – without the need for any hardware to be installed, anywhere.
Monitor Mi8 can help revolutionize monitoring of spiraling, increasingly diverse estates.
Disaster Recovery As A Service On The Cloud
Many businesses, be it a legal requirement or as part of business continuity are looking at alternatives to dated datacenter disaster recovery models. There is now an abundance of cloud offerings for IBM i, both in the form of public cloud and partner Power Cloud, and utilizing the cloud for disaster recovery can be appealing from a modernization standpoint. Furthermore, potential cost savings can be made by running cloud-based target partitions with minimal resources until such a time when a role swap is required when processing power can be ramped up. Utilizing the cloud as part of a business continuity plan eliminates expensive roadblocks normally attributed to such initiatives like having to have a second server, hardware maintenance and other costs attributed to having a second datacenter.
Maxava’s software-based HA solution can replicate Db2, the Integrated File System, IBM MQ, and QDLS with minimal processing overhead on the source server. It also provides the capability to conduct simulated role swaps that turns the target server into a simulated source server for testing purposes without impacting the source production machine or the user base. In-built self-monitoring and self-healing elements are included as standard and designed to minimize daily checks required by System Administrators. The Maxava HA Suite can operate in either synchronous or asynchronous modes. Synchronous normally reserved for environments which are physically close where an acknowledgement is received before the next transaction is processed, while asynchronous mode can tolerate longer distances between the source and target partitions and is better suited to the on-prem/cloud hybrid architecture mix.
While some logical software solutions utilize the IBM i Audit Journal (QAUDJRN) as a foundation for high availability, Maxava adopt a different approach. The primary use of the Audit Journal as the name itself denotes is auditing and using it for high availability can have an unwelcome impact on the source server’s resources such as CPU, plus in busy environments the audit journal can be a potential bottleneck causing a delay in transactions being processed and sent before being applied to the target machine, leaving you potentially exposed. Maxava’s innovative command intercept method has been designed to remove much of the resource required to maintain high availability away from the source server with most of the processing taking place on the target, away from the demands that running production environments brings. Mavava’s compute requirements on the source server is negligible when compared to some other software-based high availability solutions.
As many look to the cloud in order to align expenditure with revenue by replacing CapEx with OpEx, Maxava is playing an increasingly active part in the live migration of workloads from on-premise to the cloud without incurring downtime. The flexibility provided by IBM i software-based replication solutions also sees logical replication being used in the cloud between regions or even between cloud providers.
A cloud migration initiative provides the ability to re-evaluate HA/DR requirements where the first step should always be working out your Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective. Having both the RTO and RPO figures at hand is imperative when designing the architecture along with supporting services and software for any HA/DR deployment.
For those looking to migrate IBM i workloads to the cloud, the options are somewhat limited in the main due to the size of the data to be migrated. While cloud providers offer an array of mass storage devices for use in backing up on-prem environments before being physically transported to the provider and then finally being restored from, there are some drawbacks in that an outage is required to perform the save, plus transactions are not kept in sync during this whole exercise, typically lasting days. For large environments mass storage devices can play a useful form in seeding a target partition but work best when paired with a form of logical replication like Maxava HA. For smaller environments logical replication alone can provide a more than adequate cloud migration strategy.
The flexibility offered by software-based HA solutions is evident and while they have a history of being used on-premise, they can also be utilized in the cloud, or increasingly popular as the engine for DRaaS to the cloud. Whatever your present and future IBM i environment looks like, software-based replication with Maxava HA fits.
Despite an ever-changing landscape with hardware replication now commonplace and with the advent of the cloud, Maxava HA and software-based replication in general continue to be the mainstay of high availability. For this reason, logical replication can be described as having the Lindy Effect – the longer something exists, the longer it will exist, in the main due to its ability to adapt to different eras and the variety of environments, often incorporating the cloud that we now see. As well as being a regular choice for cloud migrations, Maxava’s HA suite runs as efficiently in the cloud as on-premise, with both HA and DR options available. To help minimize the risk of having all your resources with one cloud provider it can be good practice to use multiple providers to host your source and target partitions, or at the very least to utilize partitions in different regions.
Maxava’s HA suite supports both these scenarios and offer short-term licensing along with a selection of migrate live services designed to always minimize downtime and disruption while maintaining data integrity.
The need to have agility in the business is powering cloud adoption and whether it’s used for monitoring modernization, forms part of a datacenter exit initiative or becomes an integral part of your of disaster recovery strategy there is considerable value to be gained by embracing the cloud.
This content is sponsored by Maxava.
Ash Giddings is a product manager at Maxava and an IBM Champion 2022.
Mi8 is a trademark of Furasta, a sister company of Maxava.