As IBM iSeries celebrates its 30th anniversary, it continues to be a system of record for critical applications and data in sectors such as healthcare and manufacturing. The forward momentum of the digital business often means the server lags behind in the business backup strategy. This poses a myriad of challenges for users when it comes to avoiding downtime with iSeries backup strategies.
Avoiding downtime becomes particularly challenging in manufacturing where disparate locations can be impacted by production shutdowns for backup. The same holds true in healthcare where patient records are stored on iSeries systems that must provide 24/7 access and security. Similar challenges occur in retail, when distribution centers can’t run during the iSeries backup process, or financial sectors where overnight processing is impacted by necessary downtime during server backup. These scenarios show that downtime can have broad implications for business.
Traditional options for iSeries backup, such as physical 0nsite backup, enable greater control over data and fast restoration. This solution brings its own challenges, such as a potential for corruption if not handled properly when taken off-site. Moreover, the media must be physically changed daily (or at regular intervals).
Off-site tape backup solutions where a tape is sent off-site nightly brings the advantage of minimal onsite hardware and software needs, but this method, though it protects data availability, does not protect application availability. This method requires long recovery times and may leave “orphan data” unprotected.
All of the sectors that utilize iSeries/AS400 systems have very tight recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) where zero downtime requirements are critical to operations. The critical nature of the data and applications running on these systems is forcing businesses to look at their backup strategies and determine what is the best method for dealing with iSeries backup via zero downtime solutions.
The Value of Availability and Replication Redundancy
Critical systems require urgent protection and zero downtime, which is where high availability comes in. High availability is all about mirroring server data and applications in real time to ensure instantaneous failover. The goal is to measure RTO in seconds rather than hours through the use of automated processes.
Remote redundancy where the business maintains a fully redundant copy of data and objects on a remote hot standby enables a nearly instant failover and recovery right up to the point of failure. The downside is the cost of maintaining two fully operational sites, which can be highly cost-prohibitive when it comes to iSeries backup. Of course, businesses must not only meet RPO and RTO, but they must also minimize costs wherever possible. Consequently, they must look at more cost-effective high availability solutions that can deliver zero downtime for iSeries backup.
Cost-Effective Backup Solutions for Zero Downtime
FNTS helps businesses achieve zero downtime for iSeries backup. This proven technology not only provides replication along with DR and planned outages, but it also allows regular testing. In addition, daily operations and monitoring can be completely automated and integrated into all business systems and applications, while also enabling simple auditing and testing procedures.
For many businesses, the downside is the high cost of purchasing the software and the required skill set for its use. These challenges can be effectively addressed by having the right iSeries outsourcing partner, like FNTS, that can provide software cost minimization, as well as the needed specialized skills to implement, monitor, and manage the solution.
Costs can be minimized through unique licensing models, while remote management provides robust services that go far beyond replications. With an understanding of how iSeries/AS400 systems are highly integrated into Windows servers and other platforms with deep application dependencies, FNTS can leverage technology and experienced employees to deploy zero-downtime backup solutions within a cost-efficient model.