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GDPS and GDOC are survival kits for mainframe and open systems

GDPS and GDOC are survival kits for mainframe and open systems

In the business world, data is a tactical and strategic tool - the IT department's importance has never been greater. It's a challenge to ensure the system's continuous high availability (HA) and institute disaster-recovery (D/R) solutions. Whether your company relies on traditional mainframes or uses open-system architecture, it's possible to maintain HA, continuous operations and D/R. The secret of survival might be the IBM* Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex* (GDPS*) for mainframes and Geographically Dispersed Open Clusters (GDOC) for open systems.

GDPS is a multi-vendor solution that's geared for business-critical applications that run on System z* technology. GDOC is an open, multi-vendor solution that provides protection for applications running on UNIX*, Microsoft* Windows* or Linux* technology. Each IBM solution is layered on top of system architectures to provide dual datacenter HA and D/R. These solutions can help keep a company's critical business operations running and help curtail erosion of the company's bottom line that occurs when systems are out of commission.

GDPS and GDOC provide customers with more responsive recovery solutions and guidance on best practices, reducing the complexity of recovery components and focusing on business processes instead of the IT systems. In the financial sector, companies don't expect to be without systems for long. In many cases, the IT department must have systems running and data recovered in less than four hours following an outage. Many customers who have deployed GDPS find this to be achievable.

Understanding GDPS

For nearly 10 years, IBM customers have relied on GDPS to safeguard their mainframe systems, providing a robust solution that masks outages and provides D/R. "Pain drives customers to action," says Charles Hinkle, GDPS and GDOC offering executive with IBM Global Technology Services (GTS). "Customers have experienced outages due to any number of reasons." Via its automation capabilities, GDPS streamlines and simplifies the process of setting up and performing local or remote-recovery procedures that address HA or D/R requirements.

"One of the key components that's unique to GDPS is an offering called GDPS/PPRC HyperSwap* Manager," notes Hinkle. "That's a synchronous capability to switch from a PPRC primary to a PPRC secondary without having to re-IPL systems. This is a localized, HA solution for data that can be deployed within a single site or across sites limited to about 100 kilometers (60 miles) between the primary and secondary locations," he explains. GDPS/PPRC HyperSwap Manager is an entry-level GDPS offering that provides data HA providing a tactical solution and is also a good starting point for customers beginning the process of developing internal-recovery projects.

While this solution gives customers data protection, it doesn't protect them from localized or regional outages such as server failures, blackouts, hurricanes, etc. That's where providing fully automated disaster recovery with full-function GDPS architectures, supporting either synchronous or asynchronous environments, comes into play. "There are emerging legal and audit requirements that call for companies to have the capability to back up their critical business processes with aggressive recovery capabilities (in terms of recovery point objective or RPO, and recovery time objective or RTO)," Hinkle says. "This is making it necessary to have a solution that automates the process of transferring these processes out of the area." (For more information, see the sidebar "RPO/RTO Defined.")

Tactical and strategic challenges caused by outages call for GDPS to do more. "Companies need long-haul disaster recovery and fault tolerance with high availability within local environments. Those are very different requirements," Hinkle says. "The GDPS three-site solutions are providing that to customers."

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at



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