|In the Wheelhouse: IBM i Access Client Solutions, Where Have You Been All My Life?|
|Analysis - Analysis of News Events|
|Written by Steve Pitcher|
|Monday, 16 July 2012 01:00|
This week, I'll talk about the brand spanking new and overly awesome IBM i client offering and give you a lesson in risk management from Amazon's recent outage.
IBM Releases Technology Preview of IBM i Access Client Solutions
IBM released its technology preview of IBM i Access Client Solutions last week. If you remember, I wrote a little teaser about it a few weeks ago. Not much has been written about it yet, so I'm going to break it down for you. If you're maintaining IBM i Access for Windows installations, then keep reading. You're going to like this.
IBM i Access Client Solutions is a lightweight Java-based client that bundles some of the most-often-used components of the much bulkier IBM i Access for Windows into a nice little package.
Here's the full feature list from the accompanying Getting Started document:
Here are a couple of technical tidbits you should know:
With that out of the way, there are a few awesome things about this product.
This is a fantastic little product. I'm personally migrating our users to something more manageable. IBM i Access for Web may be the widespread route I go, as I'm growing very partial to WebSphere and want to promote access to IBM i via the Web with iPad (no Java on iPad), but for many shops IBM i Access Client Solutions may be the low-maintenance solution you've been waiting for.
Please download the technology preview for IBM i Access Client Solutions. I'd love to know what you think about it and to continue to generate a buzz, so hit me up on Twitter to talk about it. IBM hit the nail on the head with this one, and I want to make sure they get some positive feedback.
What I Will Learn from the Amazon Outage
On the weekend of June 29, a major storm knocked out power to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) data center in Virginia, causing an hours-long outage for some high-profile customers—notably, Netflix, Pinterest, and Instagram. There are lessons to be learned for us all, regardless of whether we leverage cloud-based services.
Just to be clear: this not an anti-cloud article. I'm a cloud advocate if it fits your business and you and your vendor cross the t's and dot the i's. If people are pointing their fingers at cloud services because of this incident and saying "See! See! Cloud failed!" then they're missing the point. Cloud is, in my opinion, just a term for an externally managed service. It's not magical. In a simplistic definition, it's software running on hardware, except someone else hosts and manages it for you.
With that being said, remember, on-premise solutions can also fail.
I remember an incident a few years ago at a company I did some work for. They had a major power failure, and the UPS kicked in with 30 minutes of juice left in the batteries until the propane generator would take over. The generator kicked on as normal, as it was tested every week and was automatically started and stopped after 30-60 seconds of run time. The generator had enough propane in the tanks to last about a week.
Sadly, nobody had been assigned to put oil in that generator, let alone check the level on a regular basis. Have you ever heard an engine die from a lack of oil? It's not good. The sound of the UPS kicking back in with 10 minutes left to manually power down all servers so they wouldn't go down hard was pretty awful to hear as well. I can still remember those awful repetitive beeps in the dark server room.
The crux of the matter was that the specifics of "maintaining" the generator were never ironed out. The IT department took it for granted that the maintenance services were being taken care of by another department.
That little oops caused the company to be out of business for the better part of eight hours. Once the typical finger pointing was over, it got down to the brass tacks. How do we ensure this doesn't happen again? How do we learn from this? I'd think Amazon and their customers are asking those questions at this point.
What we can learn from this outage is a lesson in risk management. No matter what the business scenario is, we must always evaluate the risk. AWS does offer a geographically dispersed service. If they have an outage because of weather or natural disaster, then services swap over to an unaffected data center. If customers were told that there were high availability options available but didn't purchase them, then it's a case of "you get what you pay for." If you don't pay for redundancy, you won't get it. But Netflix, Pinterest, and Instagram aren't Tom's Trucking Company with 100 customers. If Tom's Trucking is down for a day, 100 customers are affected, but they can probably do manual inventory and manual receipts, and business goes on, albeit a little slower and less efficiently. Maybe they can live with that. Either way, that question needs to be asked, from Netflix down to Tom's Trucking.
A high-profile outage for even a couple of hours isn't good for anybody. Amazon and its affected customers get some bad press, and the end consumers suffer.
Whatever path you choose—cloud, on-premise, or a hybrid—you need to ensure you've weighed the risks for all the choices you make. You need to ensure everything is covered to meet the expectations set by not only the people you report to, but also the people who mean most to your company: your customers. Every time you hear about something like this is a harsh reminder that it could be you that's down. Be sure your business continuity plans are in place and tested regularly.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 13:29|