DataMirror product works in real time

The notion that a system is only as good as the behind-the-scenes machinery that backs it up is the basis for DataMirror Corp.’s latest offering, the company says.

Last month the Denver-based firm announced the newest version of its iCluster software. The iCluster V2R0 is an integrated software solution that provides high availability and clustering support for IBM Corp.’s iSeries platform.

According to DataMirror, iCluster mirrors data in real time from a primary iSeries system to one or several recovery systems to ensure high-speed operational switching in the event of downtime.

In its latest version, iCluster offers new features that include full support for integrated file system (IFS) mirroring. According to Glen Sakuth, director of development for DataMirror, the IBM iSeries OS/400 comes with two different file systems: native and integrated. He explained that in a typical customer environment running a J.D. Edwards OneWorld ERP application, for example, a large multi-gigabit file is created and is likely to be changed on a frequent basis, if only in small increments. In its previous version, the support for IFS meant the entire multi-gig file would be refreshed with every change, which lead to expensive overhead costs, Sakuth said. The new functionality ensures that the V2R0 now only replicates the actual changes made to the files.

Also new in the iCluster release is fully integrated remote journaling support to give customers the assurance that transactions that are required to be on the secondary system will be. Sakuth said that many banking facilities require this capability and it gives the user the ability to configure systems to take advantage of the support for their most critical files, while using the iCluster’s standard mechanism for all other transactions.

DataMirror has also announced enhanced trigger support for customers using the external trigger functionality in the IBM OS/400. The company said triggers from custom-coded applications are fully replicated in real time, kept current on the back-up system in a disabled state and can be enabled upon switchover or failover.

“Anything that happens on the primary (iSeries) machine, if it is set up to be replicated, it will replicate those changes to the secondary machine in real time, and also apply those changes on the secondary machine,” Sakuth explained.

However, the iCluster offering may not be ideal in every iSeries environment. According to Bill Kelly, vice-president of IT Technical Services with Regal Entertainment Group, a theatre chain in Knoxville, Tenn., Regal does not presently see the need for the functionality.

The company has servers from Hewlett-Packard Co. to pull box-office data from its theatres, which then gets organized into an SQL database before it is finally sent to the iSeries OS/400. The data from the OS/400 is then backed up to an HP storage area network (SAN).

“I believe the SAN is likely a competitive product to an [iCluster] offering,” Kelly said. “I understand the concept of the [iCluster]…and I do think that functionality will [more likely] be a necessity for business in the future.”

DataMirror has been working in conjunction with the IBM iSeries since its architectural stage in the mid-’90s, and the company also offers a high-availability offering for Oracle Corp. systems. Pricing for the iCluster V2R0 was not available at press time. For more information visit the company online at