Big Blue Validates Lakeview Technology's MIMIX Clusters for the AS/400

Clustering technologies are very popular in client/server environments in which availability is suspect and where system uptime is crucial. IBM is no stranger to the clustering space itself: With its SP2 clusters for AIX, Big Blue delivers a scalable clustering solution for its RS/6000 platform that can scale to support supercomputer requirements. In the midrange world of OS/400, however, it's not IBM but Lakeview Technology (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.) that delivers a scalable, available clustering solution for the AS/400.

Lakeview Technology's MIMIX ClusterServer for AS/400 is an AS/400-based clustering solution that integrates with the new Cluster Resource Services features that first shipped with OS/400 V4R4. By using the MIMIX ClusterServer in tandem with certified ClusterProven ISV applications, AS/400 managers can deliver high availability clustering for continuous access to data and applications.In early November, IBM validated Lakeview Technology's MIMIX ClusterServer as a Cluster Middleware product for AS/400 platforms.

"Lakeview Technology's new cluster middleware products supporting V4R4 Cluster Technology is another major step in our efforts to deliver the best high-availability solutions to our customers," observes Mike Tomashek, director of AS/400 system software development with IBM's AS/400 division. "With MIMIX ClusterServer capabilities and ClusterProven for AS/400 applications, together we hope to deliver a solid framework for building solutions that meet tomorrow's demands for 24 x 365."

Lakeview Technology and IBM have been cozy of late, recently co-hosting an online "Webinar" promoting the use of clustered AS/400 systems as high-availability options in both the e-commerce and Internet spaces. But Lakeview Technology says that clusters can prove their worth not only in the frenetic Internet space, but also in environments where applications are frequently upgraded or switched-over, systems are upgraded, or data is periodically unavailable.

"Downtime is costing US businesses billions per year and the need for data and application availability has quickly accelerated in the market. Customers are looking for clustering solutions to meet this need," notes David Wegman, vice president of marketing with Lakeview Technology.

Dan Kusnetzky, director of worldwide operating environments with market research firm and consultancy IDC (Framingham, Mass.), agrees. "As organizations move to Web-based application architectures and support business-to-business and consumer-to-business applications, the environment must be made available 24 x 7 x forever," Kusnetzky comments. "This [Lakeview MIMIX ClusterServer solution] running on the AS/400 allows OS/400 users to play."

Lakeview Technology's MIMIX ClusterServer comprises a number of separate components, including the company's MIMIX Cluster Manager, a Java application that provides for GUI-based cluster management. MIMIX ClusterServer also includes MIMIX ACT and MIMIX Cluster Optimizer, the latter of which offers services to integrate proprietary customer environments with ClusterServer's service and support features.

According to IDC's Kusnetzky, even though the AS/400 has notched a reputation as a stable, reliable, highly available midrange platform, there are a number of reasons why AS/400 shops might want to look into deploying a solution that leverages the AS/400 as a clustering platform.

Kusnetzky notes that clustering or virtual processing architectures are used for many things besides pure "system" availability and are often deployed to enhance data availability, application availability, application performance, application scalability, and as a means to consolidate systems.

The use of AS/400 clustering services to consolidate systems could alone be worth the price of admission for such services in many AS/400 shops, Kusnetzky contends. "If an organization was able to manage their environment with one administrator rather than two, they might be able to save $1 million over five years," he explains. "This is based upon an assumption that the administrator requires a total investment of $200,000 per year in salary plus benefits and other associated costs."