We have finally managed to get the latest PTF for HA4i fixed and uploaded to the download area. The PTF had been put on hold due to a couple of issues with the build process and the IBM API’s. Basically there was a flaw which caused the exit program to be called when it should not have been. IBM has since provided us with a fix that now ensures the build process correctly sets the program calls for the APYPTF process.
This PTF brings a number of new features to the product.
The Sync Manager has seen a number of improvements, here are a couple of note worthy changes.
Firstly we no longer drop a request if the object is locked, the request is now added back to the queue so it will keep trying the request until it does get the object saved and transported to the target system for restore. Where an object is constantly locked delays are added to ensure the job does not consume too much system resource.
Next we add more information within the process so you can now see the progress of the requests with percentage sent status showing just how much data is left to be transported to the target system. We also added information about the object being replicated so users can see which object is being processed and what stage it is in such as Lock wait etc.
Finally we added options to reduce the lock time and send time by allowing access paths to be left out when doing the save which can significantly reduce the save and send time. We also added compression to the object to ensure we send as small amount of data as possible. If you have a very low bandwidth connection between your systems you can now sync objects manually using tape saves etc while still ensuring the restore process lines up with the data apply process.
As we have posted many times in the past the IBM save and restore processes on the IBMi are not the most reliable, many times we have found attributes are ignored during the restore when the object already exists. We are now checking for the existence of the object prior to the restore and deleting the existing object, Logical files were a particular problem when restoring Physical files so a new process has been added which ensures the physical file can be deleted while the logical files are maintained. This has had a significant impact on the Sync Manager Process which would often show a successful operation where in fact the object was restored but the logical files were left over a renamed object.
Audits are very import to ensure the data and objects are consistent between the systems. Its not that the apply process is inconsistent but we have found user interaction can affect the quality of the replication processes. This PTF adds a couple of new features which allow the automation of the data audits which take into account the apply process used by HA4i.
Role-swaps are one area HA4i is constantly improving, the role-swap process has been enhanced to allow the request to be run on the source system and it will automatically carry out the role-swap of the target system in line. This ensures the systems are managed as a pair so any problems found reflect in the switch stage of both systems. We have also added strategically placed exit points which allow user defined programs to be called as required as the role-swap progresses.
Our challenge has always been to keep the management of the systems simple, if we can automate a process which would normally require user interaction we do while still ensuring the processes run as effectively as possible. Notification of problems is always something we look at, in this PTF we have added a new process which auto-reloads via the IBM Job Scheduler that goes out and checks to make sure all of the HA4i processes are running correctly. If any processes are found to be in the wrong status or even not running, we will notify QSYSOPR via the message queue which processes are affected. These notifications can be sent via email to registered users requesting they rectify the issue.
We are constantly updating the products and provide access to any new changes as soon as possible via our remote support links. These changes are available prior to making it into a PTF which provides a very convenient method to fulfill customer needs. Customer requests are welcome and probably drive the majority of the changes we make so if you have any suggestions about missing features or requirements we are always glad to look at them.
If you are currently running a competitive product and would like to know if HA4i is an option to reduce cost or complexity let us know, we will be glad to give you a demo of the product and provide pricing.