EMC Unveils AS/400 Continuity Software

The AS/400 may be famous for its minuscule downtime, but it still doesn't hurt to be prepared for potential disruptions. The classic approach has been to maintain tape backups of systems and data. However, with the growing emphasis on 24-hour-a-day availability, disk backup through a mirrored site that continuously captures data from your primary server has gained favor.

EMC Corp. (Hopkinton, Mass.), which has offered disk mirroring solutions to mainframe and Unix systems for some time, announced it has extended this capability directly to AS/400s. The company is shipping software that enables AS/400 systems to read secondary copies of production system data, ensuring business continuity in the event of downtime.

This announcement of co-existence with IBM comes at a time when EMC is expanding its presence in the enterprise storage systems (ESS) market. Earlier this month, the company announced plans to purchase Data General Corp. (Westboro, Mass.), well-known for its CLARiiON Fibre Channel storage systems, high-end Windows NT and Unix AViiON servers, and related software and services.

EMC's CopyPoint software for AS/400s works in conjunction with EMC TimeFinder or Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF) software, both of which run on a Symmetrix RAID subsystem. TimeFinder allows system and storage administrators to create, in background mode, mirrored data images for information storage. These copies can be used for backups, data warehouse loading, decision support applications, application development, Year 2000 testing and other activities. SRDF enables EMC Symmetrix sites to mirror duplicate copies of all or some of their data from a primary to a secondary Symmetrix system.

In moving these solutions to the AS/400 world, EMC underscores its new emphasis on business continuity solutions, as opposed to simply selling storage. Business continuity requires a more proactive approach to enterprise-scale preparation, says Paul Morrison, head of product marketing for Safetynet Group, which sells storage into the AS/400 market. "After 14 years of providing recovery solutions to mission-critical AS/400 environments, we are now seeing a shift from disaster recovery to a demand for business continuity," he notes.

--J. McKendrick