Who's Afraid of IASPs?

Over the next couple years, as PowerHA, external disks, and application segregation become the norm, IASP technology on IBM i is going to become just as popular. The technology—essentially the kind of volume group common on other platforms—has seen a lot of movement since POWER7 and 6.1, especially for alternatives to internal disks.
As IASP technology continues to grow, so will its uses for high availability (HA) and backups. The result of that will be shrinking hardware costs and complexity and increased redundancy. So why, despite the benefits—and after a decade of IASP technology—are so many administrators unsure of it?

Three Benefits of IASP Technology

The largest part of the answer is that most administrators simply haven't been exposed to the technology. Additionally, IASP technology is often used in conjunction with external SAN storage attached to the Power server. But this technology, just like Robot products—which support and enhance IASPs—can make life in your data center simpler. Here are a few ways:
  1. IASPs support your IFS and library file systems. Traditionally, the library structure is where OS/400 files and programs reside. Now, after 7.1, virtually all objects can exist in IASPs. However, the  *SYSBAS ASP, which holds the OS and some other objects, still must reside in the system's base pool, or System ASP 1. (If you run 6.1 or 5.4, more objects will have to stay in *SYSBAS ASP.) Moreover, all customer data, apart from user profiles and some configuration objects, can be stored in an IASP. To learn more, scan the IBM Information Center for documentation.

  2. IASPs can be used as a directory system. IBM and its vendors have used it to host non-traditional applications like Domino, SAP, EnterpriseOne, UNIX, and more. By using this technology for an HA environment instead of software replication, you can replicate/split the disk on demand or spin it up with very little downtime—not to mention less day-to-day maintenance.

  3. In addition to supporting IASPs, Robot products are designed to enhance it. Robot Schedule makes running your business applications through IASPs easier and can itself be installed and run in an IASP. Robot Space tracks IASP space usage patterns and more.