For an application to classify as highly available, it must be available 99.999 percent of the time. That’s just five minutes downtime per year! Assure MIMIX is one of many tools available to help IBM i organizations achieve this benchmark. These tools replicate data in real time and, in the event of planned or unplanned downtime, make it possible to perform a role swap and switch the running of your system from a designated source partition (say, production) to a target partition (like your DR box) in a safer location or the cloud.
As you can imagine, ensuring that your MIMIX environment is swap-ready at all times is absolutely critical. If you can’t say with 100 percent confidence that you can successfully execute a role swap with MIMIX, you’ve lost more than half the value of this tool. That’s where MIMIX monitoring software can really help!
Monitoring MIMIX Manually
So, how do MIMIX users determine when there’s a data integrity issue or a situation that requires an urgent response or user intervention? In short, it’s pretty manual.
Precisely (formerly Syncsort) estimates that it takes 30 minutes a day to manage MIMIX. That equates to a staggering 182 hours per year. Conducting repetitive, mundane, manual checks probably isn’t the best use of time for your experienced IBM i staff.
MIMIX users must rely on the green screen, a graphical portal (VSP), event subscriptions, or a combination of all three to monitor the tool. The essential task of checking the success of audits before identifying and repairing any objects that are discovered to be out of sync also involved some manual activities. It is also required for the day-to-day running of MIMIX.
In addition to making sure that everything is in sync, MIMIX users must also ensure that the tool is not consuming excessive, valuable production system processing power—another manual task, unless you also have performance monitoring software installed.
Automated MIMIX Monitoring
Automated monitoring software helps you eliminate time spent on manual MIMIX tasks. It provides a proactive approach for ensuring that all the application components that are responsible for timely, real-time replication are up and running, aren’t using excessive resources, and that there are no lags in transactions flowing from source to target.
Proactive monitoring also provides peace of mind that your high availability (HA) environment is swap-ready should you need to do a role swap in the event of a business-impacting outage. With MIMIX monitoring software, you can automatically flag data integrity anomalies and have them assigned to you, adding exceptions for specific data groups where relevant and ensuring that these anomalies can be addressed in a timely manner.
Not only does automated monitoring software take the extra work out of managing your MIMIX tool, but it can also help you keep an eye on its performance impact to your systems, in addition to monitoring resources and processes that aren’t directly connected to your MIMIX environment.
Where do you find such a solution? Right here! HelpSystems has been helping IT professionals monitor their IBM i systems and applications for decades. We have many monitoring solutions, but two that are particularly helpful for MIMIX users: HA-MX Monitor and Robot Monitor. Which one is right for you? It all depends on what you need to monitor.
MIMIX Audit Monitoring
We talked earlier about how time-consuming yet crucial it is to monitor MIMIX audits. If monitoring audits to prove you are ready to role swap with MIMIX is your only concern, HA-MX Monitor has built-in monitoring that allows you to easily:
- Audit objects compared
- Audit objects detected not equal
- Audit objects not compared
- Audit objects not recovered
- Audit objects recovered
- Audit history status
- Audit total objects selected
HA-MX Monitor uses the MIMIX commands to access the data and has fully prompt-able values and variables to help you maximize your MIMIX audit monitoring. It’s a native, green-screen application that runs as a standalone monitoring solution or integrates with the Halcyon IBM i Server Suites for notification purposes. After configuring the software from a 5250 screen, you can view the results of your monitoring in Enterprise Console, available on your PC or as an Apple or Android mobile app. For extra peace of mind, Halcyon is also capable of sending an “all clear” notification once all alert-able conditions have been resolved.
Journal Transaction Backlogs in MIMIX
MIMIX relies heavily on the IBM i audit journal (QAUDJRN). IBM introduced QAUDJRN as a way of recording security-related incidents, but it was never designed to be relied on as the main HA cog. Doing so can and has led to bottlenecks and backlogs in some MIMIX environments.
A backlog in journal transactions varies in importance depending on the timing. For example, let’s say disaster strikes during peak business or end-of-day processing and there’s a backlog. You stand to lose more than a few critical transactions.
Having the ability to monitor backlogs is imperative. You should always be up to date by ensuring that MIMIX is running as efficiently as possible with no unacceptable backlogs caused by the sheer number of transactions in either user-defined journals or QAUDJRN.
It’s also important to be alerted to any exceptions associated with data integrity, audits, and objects out of sync. HA-MX Monitor does you one better. It includes a grace period feature that is designed to work around short-term backlog conditions and only send an alert when the timing and backlog level warrants.
MIMIX Impact on System Performance
MIMIX can be hungry in terms of processing power consumed on your source (i.e., production) machine. And while no HA tool can claim to be completely free from overhead, it’s vitally important that your HA tool doesn’t impact the performance of key business processes or user response times on the system.
Monitoring communications, ASP percentage used, storage used by journal receivers, disk failures, interruptions in disk protection, subsystems, mandatory jobs (and their statuses), remote journaling, and identifying messages of importance on message queues are all aspects associated with a fully functioning MIMIX environment.
Robot Monitor allows you to monitor your MIMIX environments from a highly customizable, graphical console alongside other IBM i applications, as well as those residing on AIX, VIOS, and Linux on Power. It provides real-time dashboarding complete with powerful drilldowns and helps MIMIX users looking to produce historical, graphical reporting. Integrating Robot Monitor with other Robot products like Robot Alert introduces real-time notifications in the form of email or SMS.
Robot Monitor also allows you to monitor the status of MIMIX data groups, object errors, apply/send/receive status, and a whole lot more. Monitoring here is achieved with built-in monitors that access the data directly from the MIMIX database, allowing the user to select which values to monitor and be notified of situations that require immediate attention.
How to End MIMIX Headaches for Good
MIMIX can be time-consuming to implement and support, as you’ve seen above. Perhaps worse, its overreliance on QAUDJRN can cause bottlenecks, lags, and a drain on system resources. If you’re frustrated with MIMIX, a monitoring solution might not be enough. Remember that there are other options for data replication and high availability out there, including Robot HA from HelpSystems.
Robot HA has an active development roadmap. With the introduction of our transition utility, we’ve made it quick and easy to migrate from MIMIX to Robot HA. Perhaps best of all, HelpSystems offers flexible, partition-based pricing instead of the Precisely model where MIMIX is priced for the whole physical system.
Even if you’re happy with your MIMIX investment, we strongly recommend introducing a MIMIX monitoring tool like HA-MX Monitor or Robot Monitor so that you can automate as many tasks as possible in order to be switch-ready, get a handle on your backlog, and get assurance around MIMIX audits and data integrity.
How to Shrink High Availability Overhead on IBM i
Unhappy with your HA tool? It could be time for a switch. This guide zeros in on those organizations that already have a high availability solution in place. Many are not very happy with or confident in their tool but are scared to make a switch. We’ll explore the reasons why these solutions may no longer be meeting expectations and share advice on how to safely switch to something better.