Power i Forecast: Directions in High Availability

High Availability / Disaster Recovery
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New, powerful lower-cost software is putting HA within reach of SMBs as are innovative virtualized and hosted HA cloud solutions.


Natural disasters and increasing requirements for 24/7 operations have created a need among IBM customers for high availability solutions greater than ever before.


In our effort to take the pulse of the high availability market at the start of 2012, we wanted to stimulate people's thinking but did not want to create such a rigid set of criteria that they would overlook a trend we hadn't considered. So we gave them a list of questions and suggested they consider them and write a short analysis of where they thought the market was heading. We didn't insist they answer all—or even any—of the questions we included but asked them to use the questions as a starting point to reflect on market direction. Following is the list of questions that we sent out:


  • Why does tape persist as the primary backup and recovery medium?
  • How has the increase in server virtualization changed high availability?
  • Do you see virtual tape machines being embraced as a DR solution in the near term in the IBM midrange market?
  • Has the price of high availability solutions come down sufficiently for it to be available to SMBs?
  • What would you recommend to smaller companies that may not have any disaster recovery plan in place?
  • What has the growth of e-commerce meant to the high availability market?
  • What are the biggest challenges your company faces in promoting your HA/DR solutions?


Below are the comments we received from seven leading figures in the IBM high availability field, who have generously shared their time and thoughts so that the rest of us can better learn what lies ahead in 2012 with respect to trends in high availability.


Alan Arnold

Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

Vision Solutions, Inc.


The results of a year-long study on business continuity, data protection, and data sharing have just been compiled by the Information Availability Institute (IAI). Their findings, along with expert summaries appear in a free downloadable research paper entitled "State of Resilience 2011: Navigating the New Landscape: Physical, Virtual and Cloud."


This year's report highlights the ways IT organizations are now working within an environment where a variety of tools and technologies promise to transform the corporation to enable growth and innovation.


Escalating storage needs, the explosion of user-generated data, the directive to give users 24/7 data and application availability, mobile computing, and the proliferation of servers are just a few critical challenges confronting businesses this year.


IT professionals are also under pressure to implement new technologies to support demands for mobility and instantaneous access, all while reducing vulnerabilities in their protection and recovery systems. Moreover, organizations are busy supporting heterogeneous environments—physical servers, virtualized servers, and private, public, and hybrid clouds.


Reports published prior to the most recent edition also uncovered important trends. Last year's edition, for example, downloaded by thousands of IT professionals, gathered the opinions of more than 6,500 people and focused on resilience and recovery for physical, virtual, and cloud environments.


The 2010 study revealed that tape is still widely used and companies are moving toward more flexible and cost-effective recovery technologies. It also shed light on the fact that some corporations still experience permanent and unrecoverable data loss, attributable to inherent weakness in their data recovery plans.


To download the Vision Solutions report "State of Resilience 2011: Navigating the New Landscape: Physical, Virtual and Cloud," click here.


 Richard Dolewski

Vice President of Business Continuity Services

Velocity Technology Solutions


Why does tape persist as the primary backup and recovery medium? IT processes are often driven by what we know and what we have historically provided the business. Tape as a storage medium is relatively economical, easy to transport, and easy to store. If a tape gets exposed to water, dust, or smoke, it may still be usable. Tapes also have the advantage of being less expensive than disk drives when large amounts of data need to be stored.


How has the increase in server virtualization changed high availability? Virtualization can provide an economical platform for higher availability by hosting multiple virtual instances of critical enterprise systems rather than provisioning additional hardware. Through virtualization, IT managers can improve systems availability with solutions that mimic traditional hardware-centric HA systems. With minimal, incremental investments, virtualization as an HA platform will eliminate duplicate hardware, provide faster failover to virtual images, and be a source of fast restarts for business applications and systems.


Has the price of high availability solutions come down sufficiently for it to be available to SMBs? The price of high availability software has decreased. Also, the cost of equipment for a backup machine may be less expensive than the price paid for the production configuration. SMBs should consider the value of a managed recovery service that includes software, hardware, alternate data center location, plan creation, and staff to perform the recovery.


What would you recommend to smaller companies that may not have any disaster recovery plan in place? Ensure that your business knows what IT can deliver and what it can't. Your business will want a solution that is available all the time in 100 percent working condition. You have invested in the infrastructure to support your production solutions. Choose your high availability software, stand behind your iSeries platform, and be confident your HA solution will work—because you have tested it. Your iSeries is always open for business because your organization is always open for business, and your customers expect it.


What are the biggest challenges your company faces in promoting your HA/DR solutions? There is a growing need for IT departments to demonstrate proven value, both internally and externally. Disaster recovery should be considered an essential methodology for ensuring business continuity and survival. Often, these goals are minimized in tough economic times. Saving pennies and risking survival dollars in a disaster does not make financial sense. Broad market visibility about managed recovery services from providers like Velocity can be a challenge when an organization's comprehensive disaster recovery plan is now more critical than ever.



Steven Finnes

Power Systems HA Product Manager

IBM Corp.


Companies embracing "smarter" computing with IBM i running on Power Systems are focused today on building IT infrastructures that enable them to deliver services to their business with both higher quality and superior economics. A key driver of improved economics with IBM i has not only been the increased use of server virtualization with PowerVM, but also deployment of storage and tape virtualization. Combined with the relentless pressure to improve service-quality levels, IBM sees a major market shift in the deployment of high availability solutions.


The trend for large enterprise users of IBM i is very clearly toward using PowerHA SystemMirror clustering in combination with storage area networks like IBM DS8000 and IBM V7000. PowerHA enables rapid and simple switching between IBM i systems in a cluster. Companies deploying PowerHA are also exploiting new storage software, including FlashCopy, which enables a near instantaneous copy of IBM i data, and Metro Mirror or Global Mirror, [which] provides a remote data copy. IBM i clients using PowerHA consider it easier to maintain, easier to role swap, and more cost-effective than logical replication solutions.


For midsized companies, simplicity and cost-effectiveness remain a top priority when considering improving business resilience. We have seen increased use of virtual tape backup both to their system storage and to cloud providers, including IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services. We also see PowerHA being deployed in midsized companies with internal storage, both to reduce cost and lower risk through simpler role-swap testing.


Finally, in all IBM i markets we have seen an increased demand for resiliency skills, both in our IBM Lab Services practice, which specializes in PowerHA and SAN implementations, and in our IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services practice, which offers a full range of services to help clients manage business risk.



Chris Hird


Shield Advanced Solutions, Ltd.


High availability is becoming a standard requirement across a much broader range of companies. This means that those companies who have previously felt high availability is beyond their budget are now looking for a solution which will provide high availability without the perceived high cost. One area we are seeing growth in is the smaller companies, the ones who have been sitting on old iSeries for a long time and have finally seen the opportunity to move forward with the new Power7 pricing model. This has provided another benefit because the old system which was enough to run their business is now worthless as far as re-sale is concerned but can be used as a valuable target system for their new Power7 hardware. We have priced our high availability offering to fit into that niche and see a number of clients moving in that direction. Another valuable option is hosted high availability; the cost is spread over a period of time, and the expertise to run the high availability solution is provided by the hosting partner. We are currently looking at virtualization as another option where the new Power7 system is carved up to provide a recovery partition with minimal cost. High availability is now affordable even for those smaller users who previously felt it was beyond their reach; it just takes a bit more imagination to come up with the options.



Bruce Lesnick


Bug Busters Software Engineering, Inc.


Most companies could benefit from a high availability solution, but the age-old test is still valid. You must ask yourself, how long can I afford to be down? If it's one or two days, then probably a tape solution is all you need—providing you design it carefully and keep your backups offsite and have a method for retrieving them. But if you need a recovery that is quicker, then you will need a high availability solution.


Tape persists because it is easy and convenient for what it does well. It's not a disaster recovery solution in any immediate sense because it takes a long time to restore data. And tape is relatively inexpensive. We must keep in mind that backup solutions are different from high availability solutions. People still want to have a backup of their data that they can use for various reasons even outside high availability, so tape continues to have its place.


It's clear that e-commerce goes hand in hand with 24/7 operations. When that happens, it's not only difficult should you go down, but it is also quite costly. You want to do whatever you can to maintain operations. Needing to be up 24/7 makes high availability just that much more important. While most companies could benefit from HA, I think some people have hesitated to look at high availability because, historically, there has been a perception it is expensive, complicated, and hard to implement. That perception is changing as new solutions are introduced.


Needing a second machine to support high availability is a detractor to some, but over time, people tend to upgrade their machines. If the machine is on lease, the customer has the option to buy the machine at a reasonable price, and if they have purchased it but are now upgrading, there is always the question of what to do with the old machine. The answer is that it is still very useful as a DR machine. The systems don't have to have the same chipset or same release of the OS; they can be two releases apart. IBM also has a nice program that gives good discounts on hardware and software for a second machine being used for high availability.


So far, there hasn't been much of a price reduction in HA solutions in the marketplace except for ours—which is considerably less expensive due to our business model. It takes people awhile to catch on to the lower-cost yet equally powerful solutions available.


Convenience features such as automatic monitoring and messaging make high availability solutions easier to manage. We expect those kinds of features will help make it more attractive for companies that may not have considered an HA solution in the past.


I think SaaS-based data centers offer a viable option for some people. In certain cases, it's a good solution for customers when it pencils out right in terms of budget, since the user doesn't have to have a second machine. The data center solution also offers the advantage of storing the data off-site, which you want to do regardless. In some cases, companies running on-premise HA solutions will replicate data to different divisions. Different companies who normally cooperate have been known to offer each other off-site storage as well. Yet the data centers have to be running some kind of replication software, and some will run ours, while others run someone else's.


As far as trends, I think people are fed up with complicated solutions that don't perform as expected. I believe we're going to see an increase in convenience, automation, reliability, and economy in HA solutions. Also, IBM has a hardware solution that, despite being quite elegant, could be simplified. If they ever made that as simple to use as RAID or single-system disk mirroring, that would be slick. It generally requires clustering, and, since it's disk to disk, you can't easily select what files or libraries to replicate, but it's definitely something to watch.



Simon O'Sullivan

Senior Vice President



Over the past few years, IBM i shops have been taking up real-time data replication for their high availability and disaster recovery solutions in increasing numbers. In 2012, we expect to see this trend continue and probably accelerate. The popularity of real-time data replication between IBM i systems has been driven by lower costs of hardware, bandwidth, and the HA software itself. It is also because having the capability to fail-over or role-swap to a backup server without an extended outage and without suffering any data loss is becoming the expected norm—not just a "nice to have."


We expect the cloud-based disaster recovery and high availability model will be a game changer, and we can see this trend developing quickly. To date, there have been few providers with some notable exceptions, such as Sungard Public Sector, offering a real and viable Cloud DR Service. At Maxava, we have been advocating cloud (or application service provider or SaaS) for many years and already have more than 100 customers relying on Maxava HA for cloud-based HA/DR. Recently, we have noticed a real change with many more cloud-based HA/DR providers offering services and many customers moving to utilize them. We expect this trend to increase, and it may finally be the catalyst for many IBM i shops to go beyond tape and secure their data in real time.


We also expect to see more development in connectivity via handheld devices, such as our maxView interfaces. 2011 was the most expensive year in history for natural disasters, and events such as the Japanese and New Zealand earthquakes highlighted the fact that people and systems may survive, but physical access to data centers may not be possible. In these circumstances, the ability to remotely switch systems can be critical. This kind of technology is also important to efficiently manage multi-tenanted hosted systems. Expect more innovation in this area—beginning with Maxava's new and improved maxView lite application for the iPad and iPhone, which can be downloaded free from the Apple App Store.


While some may think all HA/DR products are fundamentally the same, there are real differences in the underlying architectures of the various solutions. These differences significantly impact such things as performance, ease of use, and whether processing occurs on the production system or on the backup. They therefore directly impact how much data is securely "off-production" and also the speed of getting users back online when failure occurs. Whether customers decide to purchase their own HA/DR solution or use a hosted service, there are real choices in the HA/DR market in 2012, and customers will need to continue to carefully consider their options. 2012 may well be the year that "last night's tape" is no longer considered an adequate DR plan…time will tell. (Download a free copy of Maxava's HA/DR Jargon Buster here.)



Robert Seal

IBM i HA Expert and Owner

iSam Blue, LLC


HA will increasingly be implemented by IBM i users. Prices will continue to drop, and functionality will increase; large HA vendors are losing market share to more-agile small ISVs, and backup virtualization is gaining interest.

HA will grow because the price is dropping and the need is more immediate. More and more data is real-time, and no company can afford to lose even a couple of hours due to downtime.

2012 will be the year of small HA software vendors. Solutions like iSB/RSF-HA offer a lower price point and higher functionality. To survive, we have to offer more than the big guys. We're more nimble and can make changes more quickly. What we lack in installed base and marketing dollars we more than make up for in features and functionality.

There will always be a need for long-term data retention, and tape remains the most cost-effective medium for that. New disk-based virtual backup solutions automate and speed up backups, first to disk and then to tape or disk. As a result, companies can reduce backup windows, consolidate backups from multiple heterogeneous servers, add newer tape devices while retaining legacy data, and reduce total backup storage costs.

Finally, let's not forget two factors that won't change as long as we have humans and weather. Humans make mistakes. This January, an outage that IBM attributes to an error in UPS program logic took down a large Montreal IBM server farm, locking customers out of their bank accounts for over 24 hours and delaying Air Canada flights. Mother Nature will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, as we saw with last year's unusual U.S. tornados, earthquakes, and flooding. In 2011, five of the world's 10 largest insured loss events were in the United States, totaling insured losses of $23 billion and economic losses of $35 billion, according to the Aon Benfield insurance company.



Chris Smith

Chris Smith was the Senior News Editor at MC Press Online from 2007 to 2012 and was responsible for the news content on the company's Web site. Chris has been writing about the IBM midrange industry since 1992 when he signed on with Duke Communications as West Coast Editor of News 3X/400. With a bachelor's from the University of California at Berkeley, where he majored in English and minored in Journalism, and a master's in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Chris later studied computer programming and AS/400 operations at Long Beach City College. An award-winning writer with two Maggie Awards, four business books, and a collection of poetry to his credit, Chris began his newspaper career as a reporter in northern California, later worked as night city editor for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and went on to edit a national cable television trade magazine. He was Communications Manager for McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Long Beach, Calif., before it merged with Boeing, and oversaw implementation of the company's first IBM desktop publishing system there. An editor for MC Press Online since 2007, Chris has authored some 300 articles on a broad range of topics surrounding the IBM midrange platform that have appeared in the company's eight industry-leading newsletters. He can be reached at



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    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days


  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.


  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using as a pre-built development environment



  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.


  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.



  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption



  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.



  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access




  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.


  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.



  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.



  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.