The Maxava Advantage (Part 2 of 2)

The Maxava Advantage – Part 2 of 2 (for Part 1 discussing the problems with traditional HA/DR software, please click here to read more)


Tackling the Technical Head On

During my technical induction to the Maxava software processes, the trade terms I would later become fluent in were flying around the room. At the center of what to me seemed like chaos, was this term called the ‘Command Intercept Function’ which seemed to hold it together.

Before we began discussing it I was told by the tech guys that marketing can be a bit reluctant to mention it because people without a technical background sometimes found the subject quite intimidating. Despite this we pressed on because this is the significant innovation that sets Maxava apart from traditional HA/DR alternatives, and we needed to find a way to tell the world about it.

What is the Command Intercept Function?

In Part One of this piece (The problem with traditional HA/DR solutions) we discussed the problems that Traditional HA/DR software solutions experience as a result of relying upon the Audit Journal for their backup process. These problems included, amongst others, a risky synchronization process (because data activity and object creation were treated separately), delayed replication of data, and high production system resource requirements.

Maxava decided that this legacy practice of relying upon the Audit Journal for HA/DR was neither the most reliable or efficient process for providing our customers with the protection required in the modern business environment. As a result, we designed Maxava to be the first HA/DR software that was able to perform real-time object replication on the IBM i platform. This meant that unlike traditional approaches, the objects were always replicated before the data.  And this alternative approach removed any synchronization delays.

INTRODUCING MAXSYS, AND THE COMMAND INTERCEPT FUNCTION

INTRODUCING MAXSYS, AND THE COMMAND INTERCEPT FUNCTION

In a traditional system, user commands are executed from QSYS, the IBM i library containing the objects and functions that allow you to interact with the operating system. Maxava’s own Maxsys library sits above QSYS and executes a Command Intercept Function to retrieve information on the object that’s being worked upon, basically determining whether it is an object that needs to be replicated. If the file is marked as a key object that must be replicated, then Maxsys will take a copy of the object immediately after it is created on the primary server and send it through to the backup system. By creating this copy of the object before it is opened by the user for editing, Maxava avoids the locking issues that occur in traditional HADR software solutions causing a delay in replication.

While some competitors can rightly claim that they offer real-time data replication for their customers, to our knowledge Maxava – thanks to Maxsys and the Command Intercept Function – is the only organization that offers real-time data AND object replication on the IBM i platform.

What Does This Mean For IBM i Users?

Because Maxsys replicates new objects at the time they are created and not after they are opened, objects are always replicated before data is input. The benefit of this is that Data Activity transferred in journals always has a ‘home’ (aka the associated object) on the backup server to ‘move into’ as soon as it arrives.

Firstly, because Maxava’s software does not rely upon the Audit Journal process, objects and data are transferred using the same channel, ensuring changes arrive in the correct order, and without delay. This eliminates locking issues and the need for synchronization that is still required by other forms of HA/DR software. As a consequence, the data stored on the backup system is always only sub-seconds behind the data on the primary, and our customers’ data is better protected in the event of a disaster.

Secondly, unlike other HA/DR providers that use the Audit Journal, Maxava places significantly less strain upon the production system. Because Maxsys intercepts user commands and only replicates those objects that are marked for replication, he doesn’t need the same resources as a Server task detective (See Part 1) to read all new objects after they are created and find the relevant ones. This minimizes the production footprint of Maxava on our customers’ primary drive, allowing the machines to commit their power to the places it is most required: processing primary data and letting the non-essential capacity on their backup server take on the task of sorting data for backup. Treating objects and data using the same transfer method lowers the required bandwidth for backups because there is no need to transfer large files containing data.

As a very simplified example, imagine that, instead of sending a word document full of text which would require a larger bandwidth due to the size, Maxava sends the smaller blank document followed by a string of characters which are then input into the blank document once they reach the backup copy. This low bandwidth is increasingly important to our forward-thinking customers employing cloud-based replication, as it allows them to efficiently send large files via the internet without significantly higher overhead costs.

What Else Does Maxava Offer?

Although Maxsys – and the ability to replicate both objects and data in real-time – is a primary strength of Maxava’s HA/DR offerings, there are a number of other innovations which help customers tackle the threats facing them in the modern business world.

Data Integrity – To ensure consistency between the production system and backup, Maxava conducts real-time integrity checks as backups are made. By comparing ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of the data during the replication process, Maxava is able to inform the customer of any inconsistency between the two data sets.

Mobile monitoring & management – Monitoring an organization’s data systems and backup should be simple. Maxava offers a number of options, from the traditional Green Screen interface to our custom-designed graphical user interface (GUI), accessible through a mobile device. Because a disaster can strike at any time, mobile responsiveness is a key priority, leading Maxava to include certain key features in our mobile monitoring system to help customers easily manage their systems remotely. Not only can you perform a simulated role-swap to test system performance, you can actually, should the worst case scenario occur, initiate a full system failover via mobile device. This ensures that our customers can react instantly to a disaster, even when their workplace computers are inaccessible. Maxava’s Command Scripting Functionality also lets you predefine a number of shortcuts for critical data management functions that can easily and rapidly be accessed via the mobile app.

Cloud options, faster replication, IFS volume handling – Other significant offerings available to Maxava customers include unlimited apply streams increasing speed of replication, cloud-based backup options, and multi-streamed IFS replication. If you would like to know more about these and how Maxava can help your business, you can find out right here about our full Products or Service offerings.

In Summary

Maxava provides world-leading High Availability Disaster Recovery software that increases the integrity of our customers’ IBM i data backup, while also requiring a minimal footprint on their production drives. The Command Intercept Function simplifies the process of data replication by allowing objects and data to be treated in the same manner. This minimizes bandwidth requirements, eliminates synchronization errors and makes Maxava the only available solution for real-time object and data replication. In essence through abandoning the reliance upon the Audit Journal for HA/DR, Maxava has set a new standard of excellence when it comes to the treatment of your organization’s disaster recovery options.

To read more about the problems with traditional HA/DR software and why your business may be at risk, check out Part One – and if you have any questions about disaster recovery or Maxava, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Hugh's photoHugh is a recent graduate of the University of Canterbury and holds a Masters degree in Commerce as well as undergraduate degrees in International Business, Marketing, Strategy and Entrepreneurship and a degree in Performance Violin. Outside of his studies Hugh has won both national business and sporting competitions while running his own start up companies. For more information on Hugh, please check out his LinkedIn.

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