Informing the IBM Community

Bring simplicity and affordability to HA with PowerHA for IBM i


System stability is one of the main reasons that IBM i continues to be a force in the market almost 30 years after the launch of the AS/400. Over the years, many anecdotes have circulated about i machines continuing to support the core business despite floods, fires or even being walled up during data centre remodelling!

Although IBM i is already extremely resilient, the critical nature of the business systems it usually runs means that many i shops also choose to invest in high-availability technology.

Several major third-party solutions are available for creating clusters of two or more Power Systems servers, but they often have shortcomings. In particular, their status as add-on software rather than integral elements of the Power Systems landscape makes them potentially less reliable and less efficient in terms of resource consumption.

The obvious alternative is PowerHA System Mirror for IBM i, IBM’s own high-availability solution that is both mature and fully integrated into the IBM i landscape. So why doesn’t everyone use it?

We at Northdoor think it’s a great product, and perhaps one that has suffered from under-promotion. The perception in the market is that PowerHA is both complex and costly to run.

Equally, some companies may be nervous about the need to adopt iASPs (independent auxiliary storage pools) alongside their SYSBAS environments. (PowerHA System Mirror for IBM i works by switching the iASP(s) – and hence the application(s) – between the source server and the target server). However, the advantages that PowerHA brings in terms of performance, integration and automation more than outweigh the requirement for additional skills. In any case, moving an application to an iASP is usually quite straightforward, and this is certainly something that Northdoor can assist you with.

And if you prefer not to have to build up and maintain those additional skills in-house, why not invest in a managed service? As a Platinum level IBM Business Partner, Northdoor is one of a handful of companies in the UK with the skills and experience to deliver a vendor-supported, best-of-breed solution in the shape of PowerHA for i. We believe that the combination of i and PowerHA offers unbeatable service levels – so if you’re running a business-critical compute platform, why would you settle for second best?

With PowerHA for i, you can increase levels of internal confidence in both HA and Disaster Recovery, while simultaneously reducing administration through automation. Unlike third-party solutions, PowerHA for i is supported by IBM and written alongside the i operating system, so you get all the benefits of deep integration. You also get the peace of mind and ease of working with a single vendor rather than two.

Author: Tom Richards, Practice Lea,  Systems and Storage


About Northdoor

Northdoor plc is a Platinum level IBM Business Partner with Speciality status for both IBM Power Systems and IBM Storage product families. Recognised by IBM as a Centre of Technical Excellence for IBM Hardware, Northdoor has deep skills in IBM AIX, IBM i and Linux for IBM Power Systems. We are also experts in storage sizing and configuration, and in providing high-availability and business continuity solutions based on IBM PowerHA. For more information on Northdoor’s commitment to making business life easier, contact us or call 0207 448 8500.


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