The IBM i community welcomed IBM i 7.4 in June 2019. This new version of our much beloved operating system introduced new technologies and enhancements, including Db2 Mirror for i. This fresh face on the replication scene comes as a solution for larger organizations who need extreme uptime through active-active servers in the same data center.
Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of Db2 Mirror for i and determine how HelpSystems solutions for high availability and disaster recovery complement this tool and can further enhance your experience.
Db2 Mirror for i and Distance
We’re impressed by the speed of data transfer within the 100-meter distance limitation. But while Db2 Mirror for i certainly helps with uptime, it’s not a disaster recovery solution.
Organizations still need to replicate to a second site that is far enough away to avoid issues with same power grid, floods, fire, hurricane, and other disasters. Organizations using Db2 Mirror for i will need a tool that can support replication over long distances or into the cloud. That’s why traditional software replication or hardware replication still applies, even for active-active instances. This is an area where Robot HA or PowerHA can help close the gaps.
Db2 Mirror for i and the IFS
Db2 Mirror for i does not support all object types: user indexes, user queues, user spaces, for example. Db2 Mirror for i does, however, provide synchronous read/write access to integrated file system (IFS) data from both nodes through the highspeed RoCE link. How? All requests are forwarded to a primary node that owns an IASP with IFS data. PowerHA provides transparent switching of the IASP during outages and failures. This is important because organizations continue to leverage the IFS for a variety of reasons, including storage, web servers, applications, and more. Even the Windows IT team needs to access the IFS on IBM i for file exchanges! However, to replicate unsupported object types, Db2 Mirror for i users will need to supplement their solution with a logical replication tool like Robot HA.
Db2 Mirror for i and Cost
Not every business is going to be able to afford the cost of a Db2 Mirror for i implementation or have the need to meet extreme uptime requirements. We suspect that the organizations that can afford this technology will take a few years to justify and implement. We also understand that there is still a need for a cost-effect, flexible data replication option in the IBM i community.
That’s why our roadmap for Robot HA continues to drive toward ease of use and ease of implementation while limiting our performance footprint and helping you keep high availability overhead under control.
Db2 Mirror for i and Compatibility
Db2 Mirror for i only works for organizations running IBM i 7.4 on POWER8 or POWER9 servers with SAN storage. HelpSystems has worked on changes in PowerHA to accommodate Db2 Mirror for i, and Robot HA already works for systems running IBM i 7.4 with this technology.
Our Predictions for Db2 Mirror for i
HelpSystems is pleased to see this solution solve the needs of these very large, business-critical applications—particularly in banking and healthcare. We predict that large customers will begin to take advantage of Db2 Mirror for i in the data center alongside tools like Robot HA for disaster recovery and business intelligence purposes.
Disaster recovery is for getting data out of one data center into another one that is safe from being impacted by the same disaster while business intelligence allows the organization to offload their queries, dashboards, and general reporting to a non-production VM in the infrastructure. With Robot HA, this could be remote or local to the same data center running Db2 Mirror for i. Our software is still needed on both pairs of systems (VMs) running IBM i.
What's my next step?
Db2 Mirror for i is good for this platform as it provides an even higher level of availability for IBM i. If you’re looking at this technology, give us a call. We can discuss how any combination of Db2 Mirror for i, PowerHA, and Robot HA can take your organization to the next level.