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Hybrid Cloud DR Connectivity for IBM i and AIX




November 9, 2021

Hybrid Cloud DR Connectivity for IBM i and AIX

We recently shared a new diagram for IBM on-net with AWS hybrid cloud. In this article, I will discuss connectivity into Connectria’s hybrid cloud data centers and how you can leverage features within our environments in US-East and US-West, as well as how you can bring in any devices you might need. For those using Connectria managed services, this might be an opportunity for you to consider new ways of imagining your environment in a public cloud that is connected to your data center.

I’ll also go over the added benefits of Connectria’s managed services and what they can bring to the table in terms of building upon your team’s capabilities and helping your organization achieve a solid disaster recovery (DRaaS) plan.

If you prefer a more customized approach, contact one of our experts today to discuss how this can work for your business. To learn more about hybrid cloud disaster recovery for IBM i and AIX, view our on-demand webinar:

Hybrid Cloud Architecture Connectivity

Connectria’s Edge Connect services support any physical device to include routers, Layer-3 handoffs, SD-WAN devices, physical appliances, and physical hosts. This is a way for you to connect collocated equipment in our data center to your environment as well as public cloud services. With Edge Connect, we can attach layer 3 point to point and provide either Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) or static routing using the service with fiber optic attached connectivity.

Public Hyperscale Clouds

For IBM i or AIX workloads deployed in Connectria data center connected to public clouds:

  • Highly available Direct Internet Access (DIA) is available for connecting workloads
  • Bandwidth can be sized between Connectria Power Systems resources and AWS from 50Mbps to 40Gpbs

Flexible DRaaS Options

We’ve all heard the doom and gloom scenarios when talking about disasters. In the IT field, we’ve heard them all before with stories about fires, floods, employees damaging systems, malware, ransomware, etc. The list goes on and on.

In my travels, I typically see several specific drivers in organizations that force them to gravitate towards disaster recovery. These DRaaS drivers include, but are not limited to:

  • BC/DR test failures
  • HIPAA/PCI DSS compliance recommendations
  • Increase in local, national, and global environmental disasters
  • New business requirements
  • Organizations adopting ITIL/COBIT frameworks

DRaaS Constraints

In addition to these drivers, I see some constraints that organizations face when looking at ways to implement the DR strategy once they’ve determined that DR is a requirement. DRaaS constraints can include:

  • Cost avoidance
  • Lack of skilled personnel resources to support the implementation of DR
  • Organizational view the disaster recovery is just fancy insurance
  • Power Systems dependence for line of business applications

Connectria has developed our hybrid cloud data centers to address these challenges when considering a DRaaS strategy. We have all the hardware and support staff to help you design a well thought out disaster recovery solution. Once we have collaborated to develop a solution, unique to your business, we will help you execute that same strategy.

Something to consider when thinking about disaster recovery is who will be executing it? If you’re considering regional disasters in your planning, your team if located near the on-premise facility will likely be unavailable as they will be taking care of their families. Often this consideration is overlooked by organizations when building out their DR strategy believing that their employees would be available to execute a DR failover. Let’s take a look at some examples of these solutions below.

Flexible DRaaS with Power Systems

Flexible DRaaS with Power Systems

In this example, I want to highlight a solution that we’ve seen a number of customers use for their disaster recovery. On the left is a typical on-premise environment with a hypervisor for the X86 components, like Windows and Linux. Below the hypervisor, are the Power Systems components in the IBM LPARs, which typically run the main line of business applications for the environment.

As we discussed before, Connectria has direct internet access which we can leverage, along with our Edge Connect service which can facilitate MPLS or SD-Wan connectivity. Through those mechanisms, we can set up MIMIX replication from an existing IBM i LPAR to an LPAR located in the Connectria data center. We have a team of specialists with MIMIX who can assist from start to finish with the implementation of logical replication. We support both data domain and cybernetics VTLs for virtual tape replication.

VTL replication allows you to have access to your backups in the event of a declared DR scenario which may be critical especially if you stay in the data center for a period of time. Another option I have seen is a lower RTO option using replicated VTL as the DR recovery source (restoring your LPARs from VTL). This takes longer but for some organizations who have limited budgets, it may be an option that would provide assurance that data was protected and could be restored and brought online in the event of an actual DR event.

How Can This Solution Work for You?

For Windows and Linux, we can work with you to deploy AWS cloud-native replication tools on both your virtual and physical server infrastructure and replicate these systems directly to AWS. The AWS components are relatively lightweight and very cost-effective. The RPO and RTO for both the Power Systems and the AWS components are very low.

For the Power Systems, the MIMIX RPO would be the last good transaction which is near real-time. AWS’s Cloud Endure RPO would be seconds or minutes as it uses a continuous block-level replication. These RPOs are typically tied to the bandwidth available out of the source facility and when designing a solution, Connectria works with you to define what the bandwidth needs to be to hit your business objective for the RPO.

AWS DRaaS vs Azure DRaaS

Azure DRaaS

Very similar to the AWS DRaaS is the Azure solution shown above. Depending upon the hypervisor used in the environment, there are a number of ways to deploy Azure site recovery and implement replication. Just like AWS Cloud Endure, the Microsoft ASR product supports both the virtual environment as well as the physical environment.

One caveat worth noting is that when it does come to the physical environment it is difficult to failback from a disaster once the physical machine has failed over. Connectria’s team of Azure specialists can help you design and build your Azure environment under our account or under your existing Azure account.

There are multiple options for connectivity, and you aren’t limited. If desired, we can build out a pilot light environment in either AWS or Azure environments for Active Directory or SQL replication or any number of other configurations. Most customers have very custom requirements, and we are used to working through those requirements and delivering the desired configuration.

Hybrid Cloud Architecture with Connectria Managed Services

Connectria managed services can help tie all of the loose ends together from IBM i, IBM AIX, storage, networking, data protection, and security within our enterprise data centers. Our network operations center (NOC) and security operations center (SOC) can alert you to issues in the environment and get engineers working on your problem in minutes.

Connectria can develop runbooks with your team’s assistance and take over day-to-day operations with both the X86 and Power Systems host. We can work with you to test your DR plan as often as you need and do this in a non-disruptive method to ensure you and your business will be able to execute a successful failover when the time comes. We can fully manage your entire Power Systems environment and your public cloud environment, if desired, and work with you to develop a DR strategy to ensure your environment availability.

Contact one of our experts today! With our services, we can let you and your team focus on things that make your organization successful and eliminate some of the mundane aspects of DR production.

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