A Wellington software company is hoping recently acquired prestigious clients for its AS/400 database replication product, and nibbles from IT services vendors seeking to make it a part of their back-up services, will take it into an international market.
But its hopes in that direction seem to be premature.
NoMax, from Maximum Availability, replicates a database to a remote site, providing for backup and assisting 24x7 availability of data.
Maximum Availability sales director Simon O'Sullivan mentions IBM's Business Recovery Services and Auckland's Business Continuity New Zealand (BCNZ) as prospects who might offer a recovery service to their own clients using NoMax. He expresses hope of a global market arising out of an IBM agreement in particular.
However, IBM spokesman Laurie Edwards says examination of NoMax is still at a preliminary stage. "Maximum Availability asked us to evaluate the product. From our reading of [documentation], it looks pretty good." IBM is going to run a test with a local client with requirements that the product might answer. If technical testing gives positive results "we still need to look at the business case", says Edwards, but he stresses that "we're not committed to anything".
One issue is that globally, IBM Business Recovery Services uses two other similar products, he says. So IBM is at least considering possible global distribution for the Kiwi product? "You can draw your own conclusions," says Edwards. "We're not saying anything that would build their expectations prematurely."
BCNZ spokesman Martin Wellesley says the company has only had a demonstration of NoMax so far, and does not currently see a role for it in their operation. "We're driven by customer demand, of course, and things may change," he says, "but at present none of our customers has identified a need for a hot back-up server such as this product would support."
It was in the role of non-stop service that Jacques Martin, Wellington-based supplier of administration services to the financial sector, saw benefit from the product.
“We needed to get data from our production machine to our web server,” says systems development manager Drew Sommerville, so service could continue to be provided from the production machine if the web server failed. “All the other products we looked at to make the data available 24 x 7 were very expensive." NoMax was more reasonably priced and “functioned from day one for us”.
The New Zealand Lotteries Commission has been using NoMax since late last year for disaster recovery between its Wellington and Auckland sites. Latest client is WestpacTrust, signed up at the beginning of this month. The bank’s insurance division will use Nomax to implement disaster recovery.
A lot of AS/400 companies simply back up data to tape, and send it to an off-site facility. In this mode, recovery after a disaster can take up to 72 hours, says Maximum Availability's O’Sullivan. By replicating the database continually to a remote site, this time is much reduced.
NoMax uses remote journalling, a recent introduction on the AS/400i. This allows the journal of changes to the database to be transmitted to a remote site.