IBM i CLOUD DISASTER RECOVERY
Maxava and Skytap weave together an IBM i Power Cloud-based disaster recovery solution
Chilewich Sultan specializes in high-end woven textiles that cover virtually everything, from table placemats at some of New York’s finest restaurants to window coverings and flooring at exclusive international resorts. The company even makes woven tote bags, pencil cases, and clutches.
Design is everything at Chilewich Sultan LLC, the creator and manufacturer of a furniture collection and high-end textiles for table and floor mats. This attention to detail also applies to its IT infrastructure, especially in terms of disaster recovery (DR).
That wasn’t always the case. Until last year, backups occurred daily and were sent offsite to a third-party data centre with a recovery time objective of up to 24 hours. A disaster could result in “48 hours of work down the drain,” says Robert Sentell, IT manager for Chilewich Sultan. This is significant as Chilewich runs an IBM i server with 9000 CPW and have a 1.7 Terabyte Database. They generate six million transactions per 24-hour period.
Hit by a Hurricane
Based in New York, the company’s computing environment was housed on-premise until Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. Widespread power outages left Chilewich Sultan as an unfortunate victim. Although the large IBM i server itself was unharmed, it couldn’t be recovered.
Sentell recalls how the company’s founder and CEO took matters into his own hands: “He went to the office and climbed eight flights of stairs in the dark to retrieve the server, walk it back to his apartment and plug it in. It powered on, but it still wasn’t usable because nobody could log in. The entire company was essentially down for five days until the power in the office was restored. Things might have been different if a redundant system was in place at another site.”
Chilewich Sultan could have stabilized its disaster recovery (DR) environment by purchasing another Power Systems server and mirroring its production system to the backup system, but the overhead involved in terms of hardware, software and data centre costs, not to mention IT administration, would have been prohibitive. It also would have compounded another issue: “Our computer room isn’t secure,” Sentell explains. “No lock is on the door. It’s located about 30 feet from a highway, and the server was on an external wall. If a truck were to drive off the road and hit it, you could imagine how that might turn out. That was another key factor in our decision to redesign our DR infrastructure.”
Chilewich turned to Maxava to help them design the best DR plan for their needs. Maxava suggested moving to a more streamlined DR solution that uses the cloud to push production data to on-demand IBM I partitions running on Skytap in Microsoft Azure. Skytap delivers cloud-based infrastructure for IBM i Power Systems. Using Skytap removed the need for expensive duplicate backup hardware and data loss. The goal was to leverage Maxava’s High Availability and DR expertise while, more importantly, moving away from daily backups to nearly real-time backups and improving rollover times. This allows Chilewich to recover quickly from a disaster or outage without data loss.
The Maxava DRaaS for Skytap solution replicates the customer data in real-time to the very last transaction. In this case, Chilewich Sultan streams approximately six million transactions per day to Skytap. In the event of a disaster or outage on the production machine, Chilewich Sultan can swap users and run its business from Skytap without data loss or significant downtime. The Skytap backup Logical Partition (LPAR) can run on limited resources in the day to day replication environment, and Processing Power (CPW) and memory can be dynamically increased when required.
Production IBMi 9000CPW, 28GB Memory, 1.7TB Disk
Skytap LPAR 1274CPW, 8GB Memory, 1.7TB Disk
6 Million data entries streamed in real-time from production to Skytap
Software: Maxava’s Disaster Recovery as a Service / Mi8 Monitoring and Management Solution
Administration: Maxava Support Staff with MaxAssured and Skytap Portal
Save: About 2/3 of traditional DR solutions*
First 3 months free on a 12-month contract**
Focused on Work
Rather than continuing to grapple with a tenuous DR infrastructure—and tempting the fates—Chilewich Sultan has a mostly hands-off solution that includes a fully monitored and maintained Power Systems server, necessary network support, and a near-real-time backup environment.
“We couldn’t have picked better partners. Now we can focus on what we do best, which is designing, manufacturing, and shipping our products,” Sentell says.
*When compared to traditional DR set-up with a backup server, datacentre, replication software, network costs, and monitoring & management
**Part of the limited time Covid-19 program