While IBM has replaced the iSeries range of servers with the Power Systems line, the former still enjoys wide use in small- and medium-sized organizations, particularly those that use legacy systems. Aside from the threat of obsolescence, organizations also face the risk of large-scale system downtime sans the availability of iSeries disaster recovery solutions.
A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Since IBM announced the replacement of the iSeries with the Power Systems server line in 2008, IT departments have been scaling down their support for iSeries hardware and applications. This is because the typical useful life of iSeries hardware is roughly ten years. While third-party vendors still offer maintenance services for the iSeries, the cost varies with the age of the system, and IBM itself has already ceased support for many platforms.
In addition, iSeries spare parts are getting harder to find, with many components finding their way into newer PowerSystems, BladeCenter, and Flex System machines. Many providers wait months before certain components become available. Because of this, organizations that have redundant iSeries servers find it hard to perform preventive and unscheduled maintenance activities, with some opting to port applications over to other platforms or abandon the idea of redundancy altogether.
As many companies learned the hard way, though, both approaches have their disadvantages. First, using software written for the iSeries on other platforms can affect system stability. On the other hand, not having redundant servers can drastically affect organizational performance and revenue should iSeries disaster recovery activities on the main servers take too long.
Coming Up with Feasible Solutions
To protect their data and applications, organizations are looking for solutions that have four key features:
Affordability. Smaller companies lack the financial capability to invest in redundant hardware and infrastructure. However, they are willing to pay smaller monthly or yearly amounts to have their data and applications stored elsewhere.
Security. Organizations often hesitate when they consider the possibility of proprietary and personal information traveling over different networks. However, solutions that have encryption and password-based security are acceptable to them.
Simplicity. Older systems require tape backup systems. However, newer iSeries disaster recovery solutions feature remote online backup capabilities, eliminating the need to transport physical data off-site. In addition, remote online backup means that data and applications are readily available in case they should be rebuilt after a disaster.
Ease of Use. The simplified iSeries disaster recovery procedures and processes are easier to learn than previous iterations, and remote training and support are often available. This eliminates the need to train and deploy dedicated staff just for iSeries redundancy support.
Compared to building and maintaining a disaster recovery site, partnering with reputable iSeries disaster recovery specialists will give organizations access to all four advantages listed above. This will ensure that critical applications and data remain intact even after a physical or man-made disaster, and will help IT departments rebuild their capabilities quickly and at a lower cost without sacrificing data integrity and security.