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POWER > Systems Management > High Availability

PowerHA 7.1 Keeps AIX Enterprise Clients Up and Running


Illustration by Otto Steininger

Having a multisite, high-availability (HA) enterprise computing solution is becoming more critical for business. Just as a steady heartbeat indicates a well-functioning body, organizations rely on their system’s heartbeat to keep going—even if one location is down for a planned or unplanned outage. IBM PowerHA* SystemMirror 7.1 for AIX* Enterprise Edition helps clients keep production running smoothly and manage multisite systems easily.

Enterprise clients are faced with a number of tough requirements. They must adhere to stringent service level agreements that have little tolerance for downtime. Many clients believe HA management is complex and time-consuming and that managing a multisite solution requires a demanding level of hands-on action by the IT shop. Keeping a robust disaster recovery system is considered a necessary expense and can eat away at the IT budget. With PowerHA 7.1, IBM offers a solution that works to simplify HA and ease the cost burden for clients.

Automated for action and simplicity, the PowerHA 7.1 solution can minimize the impact of planned and unplanned outages. The embedded cluster technology and GUI enables easier implementation and administration of the cluster. It is designed for both data center and multisite deployment.

The October introduction of the Enterprise Edition follows the 2010 launch of PowerHA* SystemMirror 7.1 for AIX* Standard Edition. “We’ve extended the principles from the Standard Edition of 7.1 to the Enterprise Edition, addressing the requirement for multisite use,” says Steven Finnes, Power Systems* Product Management, PowerHA. “The Enterprise Edition is more robust, easier to manage, and has higher levels of automation and new multisite capabilities.”
 

Cluster Management

Both the Standard and Enterprise Editions of PowerHA 7.1 configure business-critical applications into a cluster. The cluster, which consists of multiple nodes, has a function that monitors changes in the critical application environments and events that require either operator attention or a failover to a secondary node.

With PowerHA SystemMirror 7.1 for AIX, core-clustering technology moves into the kernel and the operating system, resulting in a clustering environment that is more easily managed and more robust. The Cluster Aware AIX feature creates AIX command support across the cluster, which can minimize the time IT staff spends monitoring and maintaining the cluster.

With the Standard Edition, cluster management for the data center allows PowerHA to monitor, detect and react to events. It creates a heartbeat between the systems and enables automatic failover. IBM shared storage clustering allows clients to have near-continuous application service, and it offers minimal impact on service from planned and unplanned failovers and ease of use for HA operations.

“With PowerHA 7.1 we introduced a revamped kernel-based health-management clustering foundation for data center cluster deployment. This topology provides three levels of heartbeat redundancy, thereby eliminating the possibility of a partitioned cluster scenario,” explains Ravi Shankar, lead architect for the PowerHA 7.1 development team. “We’ve had continuous interactions with clients on our product strategies and roadmaps, and PowerHA SystemMirror 7.1 for AIX is the direct result.”

The Standard Edition introduced advanced capabilities such as Cluster Aware AIX, kernel-level event processing, Federated Security, triple-redundant heartbeat with SAN fabric communications, out-of-the-box HA management support for common middleware products, an IBM Systems Director-based GUI plugin and more. The Enterprise Edition has all of the components of the Standard Edition as well as technology designed for multisite cluster management. The entire focus of PowerHA 7.1 is to introduce new technology with more options capable of addressing varied client environments and to enhance product robustness and usability. “As high availability and disaster recovery solutions increasingly become standard IT operational requirements, we intend to be leading the way,” Finnes says.

The Enterprise Edition helps configure multiple sites for disaster recovery and can assist clients in meeting compliance standards for corporate policy and regulations. By using the intuitive interfaces and installation wizard of IBM Systems Director, the PowerHA 7.1 Enterprise Edition makes it easier to deploy multisite configurations.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at savage.shirley@comcast.net.



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