Technology Focus: Managing Storage Is as Critical as Managing Your Data PDF Print E-mail
Application Software - General
Written by John Ghrist   
Monday, 18 November 2013 00:00

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Accurate data is critical to today's businesses. Managing its storage and retrieval is therefore decisive as well.

 

"Storage management" has come to be an umbrella term that encompasses not just data storage and retrieval, but such formerly independent topics as high availability (HA), disaster recovery (DR), and capacity planning. Add to that the realities of virtualization, cloud services, and multiplatform environments, and the whole topic of storage management becomes complicated and full of options that each enterprise must explore to find the right combination for their line of business.

Digging for Gold on Your Hard Drives

Driving it all, of course, is the value of data, an asset that seems to increase in both value and volume with each passing month as more and more ways are devised to parse, slice, and dice it to glean future strategies.

 

"Five years ago, it was unusual to see an IBM i customer with several terabytes of datanow it is the norm. This storage growth is driven by data analytics that today expands business-based decisions to an unimaginable scale and also I think by the low cost of storage media," notes Allan Campbell, CEO of Maxava. "These days, companies tend to keep everything, when previously they were typically very disciplined about purging old and unnecessary records and avoiding multiple copies of the same data. In fact, these days some systems look like a hoarder's garage!" he muses wryly.

 

"Organizations are seeing their storage requirements rapidly expand while their business becomes more and more reliant on constant access to mission-critical data," agrees Alan Arnold, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Vision Solutions. "This reliance is reflected in increasingly aggressive service level agreements and regulatory requirements related to downtime and data loss."

Supporting Data Value via Storage Strategies

The question for IBM i users becomes one of deciding how best to simplify their storage-management challenges while optimizing access to data.

 

"Whether it's for analytics, for building a data mart, for reporting, for a data warehouse project, for high availability, or for disaster recovery, companies should deploy off-the-shelf products that make this data movement possible and affordable," advises Giacomo Lorenzin, managing director of HiT Software. "And of course, anybody requiring to move, replicate, or update data between heterogeneous database systems (regardless of purpose) needs to be aware of the cost of time-to-implementation, ease of use, and ability to make updates in real-time," he adds. 

 

"My best advice to those looking to simplify their storage management challenges is to start by taking a thorough, honest look at the true recovery time and recovery point objectives that are required for your business," offers Vision Solutions' Arnold. "Then seek out a vendor whose solutions address capacity planning, disaster recovery, and high availability with proven technology that will scale as your environment grows. Also look for that vendor to provide a migration solution that will allow you to reorganize and modernize your storage infrastructure as needed. Planning for the worst-case scenario and looking for a partner that can address your HA/DR, migration, and capacity planning needs are the best steps your business can take to survive an unexpected outage."

 

"In terms of advice to IBM i customers, I would say, start with the business," Maxava's Campbell recommends. "What do they think is their critical data? What data do they need available online, and what can they wait to have extracted from archive? How long are they prepared to be without critical data? If there was a disaster, how much data would they be prepared to lose (the RPOrecovery point objective) and how long would they be prepared to wait to get access back to the data they managed to save (the RTOrecovery time objective)? Get them to think of DR and HA as an investment in terms of expanding and securing trading hours and in terms of it being equivalent to the insurance policies paid for insuring company building and other assts. Data needs to be treated at least as carefully as any other asset in a business. Once you have this information and guidance from the business, you know what the scope of the task is and hopefully you have business support for the budget to deliver to the requirement identified."

Unique Challenges in Storage for the IBM i

Clearly, much of this advice would apply to enterprises using any computing platform. Are there any particular pitfalls to which IBM i users should pay special attention?

 

"Traditional IBM i professionals have been slow to embrace the power of change," observes Richard Dolewski, chief business continuity officer at Maxava. "With the tools made available in the POWER framework and economies in delivering a virtual vs. physical storage management, the direction is clear. This is the new standard. Storage management is built into the operating environment and tightly integrated. The management is intuitive but should no longer be exclusively protected by a tape backup strategy."

 

"The IBM i platform is unique in many respects, and the skill sets necessary to manage it are unique," remarks Vision Solutions' Arnold. "For example, journaling at the operating system level provides transaction integrity for a platform that is essentially the ultimate in a caching solution where data is held in memory for performance reasons. Journal-based replication maintains this integrity, but hardware storage-based sector replication solutions, that work for other platforms, need additional constructs to account for cached data and single-level store addressing. Potential IBM i customers who are unfamiliar with the platform need to be aware of these differences."

 

Below are storage-management products for the IBM i that can help users of the platform get a better handle on managing their information retrieval. Please note that the brief descriptions here don't cover all the features each software product provides. You should consult the links provided for each product and contact the associated vendors for a more complete idea of what each product's capabilities include.

Storage Management Solutions for IBM i

ASG Software Solutions

ASG-Time Navigator for iSeries

ASG-Time Navigator is a backup and recovery solution for saving and restoring files from any point in time from any backup media for IBM i. Other versions of ASG-Time Navigator handle backup and recovery tasks for Linux, UNIX, and Windows servers.

 

Backup Technology Ltd.

Asigra

Asigra is an agentless backup and recovery system for networks running IBM, Linux, UNIX, Mac, and Windows OSes. It provides a single point for controlling backup activities and features 256-bit AES data encryption, FIPS 140-2 certification, WAN optimization, and backups for email systems as well as standard storage.

 

Asigra Cloud Backup

Asigra Cloud Backup is designed to provide backup and recovery services for public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. It can be purchased either as software for onsite personnel to use or as a SaaS service offering managed by Asigra.

 

Champion Solutions Group

Cloud Storage Strategies

Champion's Cloud Storage Strategies provides cloud-based backup and recovery, long-term archiving, and disaster-recovery services.

 

Server Virtualization

Server Virtualization services include backup/recovery/data-sharing with virtual servers, server consolidation, and disaster recovery.

 

CPS Technology Solutions

Service Solutions

CPS offers cloud-based service solutions for IBM i that include backup, recovery, and storage management.

 

Data Storage Corporation

SafeData Cloud

SafeData Cloud offers cloud-based "capacity-on-demand" backup services for IBM i, AIX, and Windows applications.

 

SafeData/Vault

The SafeData/Vault service supports centralized backup and recovery infrastructures featuring offsite storage and recovery, as well as automated deployment to desktop and mobile devices.

 

EMC

Avamar

Avamar is backup and data de-duplication software for IBM i and other servers running AIX and Linux. It emphasizes full daily backups and one-step recovery processes.

 

EVault

EVault Data Backup Software

EVault is a disk-to-disk data backup and recovery software for IBM i servers running i5/OS, AIX, or Linux, as well as other platforms. It builds backups dynamically to avoid recovery from incremental backups and encrypts backup data during transmission.

 

EVault SaaS

EVault also offers its backup software as part of a cloud-based backup service for a wide range of computer platforms.

 

EVault Software

Evault Software provides on-site backup and recovery services for multiplatform physical and virtual server environments.

 

Help/Systems

Robot/SAVE

Robot/SAVE includes automatic backup and recovery, backup-tape encryption, Lotus Domino online backup, automated restricted-state backups, and other features.

 

Robot/SPACE

Robot/SPACE monitors your ASPs, IASPs, libraries, IFS objects, active job storage levels, and more—automatically. It also monitors active job storage, collects disk space usage statistics, predicts future disk storage needs, and performs over 20 disk space cleanup duties.

 

HiT Software

DBMoto for IBM i

DBMoto for IBM i offers data replication and change data-capture for data-migration and integration projects and includes APIs for incorporation into custom applications.

 

DBMoto Cloud Edition

DBMoto Cloud Edition provides cloud-based data replication for moving or sharing data with remote systems.

 

Hosting.com

Availability and Recovery Services

Hosting.com incorporates cloud- and EMC-based backup and recovery services.

 

IBM Corporation

Tivoli Storage Manager

Tivoli Storage Manager is a family of products that handles backup, recovery, and storage-management servers for IBM i and other platforms running AIX, Linux, and Windows.

 

iSamBlue

Blue Cloud Services

Blue Cloud Services provides cloud-based backup and recovery and HA for IBM i and open-systems servers.

 

Lpar2rrd.com

LPAR2RRD

LPAR2RRD is an agentless, open-source freeware utility that generates historical, future-trend, and nearly "real-time" CPU utilization graphs of LPARs and shared CPU usage on IBM Power servers. It also collects complete logical and physical configurations of all connected LPARs and servers. The utility works with servers running i5/0S, AIX, Linux, and VIOS.

 

LXI Enterprise Storage

iSeries Open Client

The iSeries Open Client offering lets enterprises control backups of multiple open-systems servers from a single console.

 

Information Lifecycle Management

Information Lifecycle Management includes backup and recovery management, tape management, vault management, Lotus Notes/Domino hot backup, and tape encryption products and services for IBM i, AIX, and Linux servers, as well as servers using other operating systems.

 

Midrange Performance Group

Performance Navigator

Performance Navigator is a utility that runs on Windows PCs and carries out performance analysis on IBM i servers running i5/OS. The data produced includes capacity planning information helpful in formulating storage-management strategies.

 

Power Navigator

Power Navigator is a utility that runs on Windows PCs and carries out performance analysis on servers running AIX, Linux, Oracle Solaris, and HP-UX. The data produced includes capacity planning information helpful in formulating storage-management strategies.

 

Pinnacle Business Systems

TRAC/400

TRAC/400 software handles backup and recovery and media-management operations across multiple servers and interfaces with virtually all job-scheduling utilities.

 

Storix Software

System Backup for AIX

System Backup for AIX is an administrative system for controlling backup and recovery operations on servers running AIX, including IBM i.

High-Availability/Disaster-Recovery Products and Services for IBM i

Bug Busters Software Engineering

RSF-HA

RSF-HA replicates data, libraries, user profiles, system values, network attributes, and authorization lists to a hot backup machine and automatically creates journals needed to create an HA system.

 

Data Storage Corporation

IBM iSeries Disaster Recovery

The iSeries Disaster Recovery program is a service that includes back and recovery testing, disk-based data backup, and data encryption.

 

iSeries High Availability

Data Storage's iSeries High Availability is a hosted-service solution for HA that features disk-based storage, recovery in 15 minutes or less, and support for AIX, Linux, and Windows as well as i5/OS.

 

iSeries Virtual Recovery

Virtual Recovery is a hardware-free virtual backup and recovery service for IBM i that backs up data to a remote data center and restores it on demand via a virtual private network protected by password access and data encryption.

 

IBM Corporation

Copy Services CBU Companion Offering

The Copy Services CBU Companion Offering augments IBM Capacity Backup (CBU) servers with Independent Auxiliary Storage Pools (IASPs) and other i5/OS features to provide HA and DR services.

 

IBM PowerHA SystemMirror for i

IBM Power HA System Mirror for i is a hardware solution for automating high-availability and disaster-recovery operations. It offers a clustering solution that requires no downtime to operate and HA/DR protection with simplified setup.

 

IBM PowerHA SystemMirror for AIX

IBM PowerHA System for AIX offers services similar to IBM PowerHA SystemMirror for i.

 

IBM Systems Workload Estimator

The IBM Systems Workload Estimator is a browser-accessible tool for all IBM platforms that uses workload statistics to help administrators plan for future storage-management or system virtualization changes.

 

iSamBlue

iSB/RSF-HA

The iSB/RSF-HA offering provides simplified HA and disaster-recovery services for IBM i servers.

 

Maxava

Maxava HA Datastream

Maxava HA Datastream runs on backup servers to provide a one-way, data-only replication engine.

 

Maxava HA Enterprise+

Maxava HA Enterprise+ helps automate and manage HA role swaps between multiple servers by featuring realtime replication of data and applications, the maxview Manager utility for monitoring and controlling HA activities, and a command-scripting function.

 

Maxava HA SMB

Maxava HA SMB, aimed at SMB enterprises, facilitates replication of data and objects. It offers on-demand replication of data queues and data areas, support for role-swapping, and a unified monitoring capability.

 

Shield Advanced Solutions

DR4i

DR4i is a disaster-recovery solution that lets users replicate and apply all changes stored in a remote journal to a target system. Shield also offers a version of this product for PureFlex systems.

 

HA4i

HA4i is an HA solution for IBM i that uses Remote Journal functions to provide a simpler, easy-to-install, and uncomplicated-to-manage alternative to larger HA systems. HA41 includes a PHP-based user interface that lets users run everything from a single console. Shield also offers a version of this product for PureFlex systems.

 

Storagepipe

Online Backup and Recovery Service

Storagepipe's Online Backup and Recovery Service transmits changed data to a remote data center via an encrypted process to protect data from servers that must run 24/7 and provide DR.

 

SunGard

SunGard Availability Services

SunGard Availability Services includes cloud-based HA, managed Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), consulting, and business-continuity software.

 

21st Century Software

Storage Analytics

Storage Analytics in an administrative application that evaluates server storage to highlight methods for better use of existing storage assets, plan for future capacity needs with trending analyses, manage storage growth, and generate ongoing reports on enterprise storage resources.

 

Vision Solutions

Double-Take Availability

Vision Solution's Double-Take Availability provides HA services for servers running AIX and Linux, including IBM i. By providing failover protection for those operating systems, the product replicates to remote DR sites via standard IP networks.

 

Double-Take Recover Now

Double-Take Recover Now is a disaster-recovery solution for servers running AIX. It also integrates with IBM's PowerHA for AIX to extend the IBM product's offsite DR and recovery capabilities.

 

iTera Availability

Based on remote journaling, iTera Availability maintains a complete backup of production and other designated systems or devices (e.g., tape systems) and switches users to the backup system on demand.

 

MIMIX Availability

MIMIX Availability replicates applications, data, and system values in real time from a production server to a backup server. Offered in three versions with accumulating features for enterprises of various sizes, the product ensures that backup systems are ready to run as needed.

 

MIMIX DR

MIMIX DR offers entry-level disaster-recovery services for IBM i servers.

 

MIMIX Global

MIMIX Global is designed to handle multiple-node HA installations. Equipped with a browser interface and available in three editions of varying capabilities, MIMIX Global provides automated help for maintaining backup systems, alerting personnel to problems requiring switchovers, and managing transitions to backup systems.

 

OMS/ODS

OMS/ODS, designed for larger enterprises, maintains exact or near-realtime images of multiple systems that include all applications, data, and system objects. Available in both Professional and Enterprise editions, its multi-CPU design can replicate environments of any complexity and keep them available for failover at any time.

 

 


John Ghrist
About the Author:

John Ghrist has been a journalist, programmer, and systems manager in the computer industry since 1982 and has worked with IBM midrange and mainframe, H-P, Unisys, and PC platforms. A former editor-in-chief of Defense Computing and a senior editor with SystemiNEWS, John has written and edited hundreds of articles and blogs for more than a dozen print and electronic publications. He is currently CEO of John Ghrist Agency, a marketing communications firm for technology companies. You can reach him at ghrist@comcast.net.

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Last Updated on Monday, 18 November 2013 00:00
 
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