Great High Availability solution we configured for one of our customers…
Mid-Sized business, in many cases, have the same concerns enterprise customers have, but are required to address them with a much smaller staff and budget. One of the major concerns that businesses of all sizes face is finding a reliable business continuity solution that doesn’t break the bank.
For those of you that have read any of my past blog posts, you know that I have a borderline obsession with IBM Power Systems. Over the past couple years I have worked on many continuity solutions, as increasing resiliency has become a major focus area’s for many of my mid market clients. There are a few reasons for this.
- Downtime is not an option anymore. Companies need their systems up and running 24/7 and any unscheduled downtime carries a large price tag.
- Tape backup and transportation offsite is not convenient and data is only as current as the most recent backup.
- Even if you had a tape backup available and an extra server to load it onto, it would still take hours or days to bring the system back up and get users connected.
- Connectivity between locations has become more secure, faster and more reliable.
IBM offers a great solution for companies running on IBM Power that are looking to build a High Availability solution.
IBM CBU (Capacity Backup Unit) & PowerHA SystemMirror for IBM i
PowerHA SystemMirror for i is the IBM Power Systems’ offering for HA and DR. PowerHA SystemMirror for i is an IBM storage-based clustering solution for HA and DR. Data and applications are positioned into storage pools or IASP’s. IASP’s can be deployed using either internal or external storage. Any nodes in the cluster can switch roles and become either a primary or secondary node. PowerHA SystemMirror is designed for and intended to be used for on-demand role swap operations. Some of our clients actually have their PowerHA cluster setup to role swap once a week automatically because it’s painless and it certifies that, in the event their production system goes down, they would not miss a beat.
Match this with IBM’s CBU (Capacity Backup Unit) hardware solution and you have a full blown High availability solution that doesn’t break the bank. IBM’s CBU offering allows a company to purchase a new Power system with a single IBM i license and enables the customer to move workloads between boxes. For example:
CBU allows PowerHA licenses entitlement fail-over from the registered production server
- Minimum 1 entitlement required on the CBU box*
- CBU server allows the temporary transfer of entitlements from primary server for non concurrent usage on the CBU server
- Round-up when using partial processors
- 3.5 processors = 4 entitlements
- One customer
No HA/DR required for Partition 1
- No PowerHA licenses HA required for Partition 2 and 3
- All processors in the production server partitions 2 and 3 are licensed for PowerHA – One key, 8 entitlements
- The license key will be a permanent key installed on partition 2 and 3
A single processor is licensed on the CBU server
- One key, one entitlement
- The non-OS LPPs will be temporary keys for 8 cores good for two years installed on partitions
- 2 and 3
* if the HA/DR solution requires more than one core on the CBU to run replication services, those extra cores must also be licensed.
- The CBU offering is used in high availability and disaster recovery deployments
- Offering enables customers to move workloads between boxes without fully redundant OS entitlements
- Two year temporary keys eliminate redundancy for eligible LPPs
- CBU designation available only upon purchase of a new box and must be registered to a qualified primary.
- If a CBU is no longer affiliated with the original registering customer, it is not recognized as a CBU.
- Registration process: client agrees to terms and conditions, CBU registration is validated, shipment is approved
- CBU agreement requires that both the primary and CBU are owned by the same enterprise.
Our customer solution
Now that we have a basic understanding of the IBM CBU offering, let’s focus our attention on an actual customer situation. Our customer who was purchased recently by a large private equity firm was given a mandate that they needed a business continuity plan that would result in as little downtime as possible in the event that their production system was taken down. They’re currently running multiple cores of IBM i on a single power system and using off-site tape for backup (aka: their business continuity solution). The time and cost of storing tapes in a secure tape storage location is expensive when you look at it from a cost to actual benefit standpoint.
Below is a diagram of the solution presented to our customer. In the proposed solution the customer is looking at purchasing two new Power S814 servers with one replacing their existing production server and one acting as a CBU in a datacenter 1000’s of miles away. They will be using PowerHA to replicate live data from the production environment to the CBU. They will then be using their existing production server as a development and test environment.
In the event that the production server is not available the CBU takes over the workload of the production environment and all users are re-routed to the CBU. Business continues without missing a beat. This solution is powerful, simple to manage, and much more cost effective then one might think.
This technology is my passion and I would be more than happy to chat with anyone who is interested in this solution. If you’re interested in learning more about PowerHA, check out my blog post “Avoid the risk and cost of downtime with IBM PowerHA System Mirror for IBM i”. If you’re interested in more information on IBM Power8 technology you can find more information in the following posts.