Each year, I visit with thousands of customers over the phone, on site, or at events like user group conferences. I like to hear how each customer configures their unique computing environment. Hearing about the number of IBM i partitions or Windows servers that organizations are using might seem boring to some, but it really gives me a view into what has been happening with IBM i customers in the past.
It’s probably no surprise to any of you that the server most frequently used alongside IBM i is Windows. There are two main reasons why:
- Reporting and storing data
I say “in the past” because it’s possible our customers and other IBM i users didn’t know about SEQUEL Data Warehouse (formerly RODIN). HelpSystems recently acquired this product from Coglin Mill. Highly integrated with the IBM i operating system, SEQUEL Data Warehouse offers secure, efficient, and simple implementation, outperforming all other extract, transform, and load (ETL) tools and bringing data reporting and storage back to the i.
Why IBM i for Data Warehousing
IBM i is secure. Hackers typically do not target this server as it is less known and simply free of viruses in the area where DB2 lies. Certainly IBM i can store a virus in the IFS, but these are objects that would impact a Windows server, not IBM i. You do need to secure your data files, but this can be done with object security and a great firewall product like our PowerTech Exit Point Manager for IBM i. Your data warehouse can be very secure with little effort.
IBM i is scalable. You can host terabytes of data on a single IBM i partition. I’ve spoken to customers with 120 terabytes of data on one partition! Think about how many Windows servers you could gobble up with just this one partition. This eliminates power consumption, physical space, and overall staffing headaches in your data center.
IBM i supports redundancy. IBM i has three major options in this area:
- Software replication, which takes advantage of DB2 journaling.
- PowerHA, which implements hardware replication within IBM technology
- Third-party SAN like one from EMC that provides hardware replication within the SAN. This again could be done with maybe only two partitions, one for production data access and analysis and one replication partition.
IBM i is fast. When you can host your data warehouse partition on the same server as your production data, and ETL the data between partitions at a high rate, it eliminates latency in refreshing the data. Another impact is the speed of SQL Server Database Engine on IBM i and the potential to put your data in flash technology in the SAN—now you can really fly on accessing the data. If you really need it, speed of access can be achieved.
IBM i has HelpSystems. You can couple the SEQUEL Data Warehouse with SEQUEL or ShowCase from HelpSystems. Our Robot SCHEDULE product could also be used to automate the background reporting and data ETL processes so the entire operation can run lights out and error free.
Now, that’s a reliable solution that most CFOs can live with.