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Technology Focus: Managing Storage Is as Critical as Managing Your Data

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Accurate data is critical to today's businesses. Managing its storage and retrieval is therefore decisive as well.

 

"Storage management" has come to be an umbrella term that encompasses not just data storage and retrieval, but such formerly independent topics as high availability (HA), disaster recovery (DR), and capacity planning. Add to that the realities of virtualization, cloud services, and multiplatform environments, and the whole topic of storage management becomes complicated and full of options that each enterprise must explore to find the right combination for their line of business.

Digging for Gold on Your Hard Drives

Driving it all, of course, is the value of data, an asset that seems to increase in both value and volume with each passing month as more and more ways are devised to parse, slice, and dice it to glean future strategies.

 

"Five years ago, it was unusual to see an IBM i customer with several terabytes of datanow it is the norm. This storage growth is driven by data analytics that today expands business-based decisions to an unimaginable scale and also I think by the low cost of storage media," notes Allan Campbell, CEO of Maxava. "These days, companies tend to keep everything, when previously they were typically very disciplined about purging old and unnecessary records and avoiding multiple copies of the same data. In fact, these days some systems look like a hoarder's garage!" he muses wryly.

 

"Organizations are seeing their storage requirements rapidly expand while their business becomes more and more reliant on constant access to mission-critical data," agrees Alan Arnold, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Vision Solutions. "This reliance is reflected in increasingly aggressive service level agreements and regulatory requirements related to downtime and data loss."

Supporting Data Value via Storage Strategies

The question for IBM i users becomes one of deciding how best to simplify their storage-management challenges while optimizing access to data.

 

"Whether it's for analytics, for building a data mart, for reporting, for a data warehouse project, for high availability, or for disaster recovery, companies should deploy off-the-shelf products that make this data movement possible and affordable," advises Giacomo Lorenzin, managing director of HiT Software. "And of course, anybody requiring to move, replicate, or update data between heterogeneous database systems (regardless of purpose) needs to be aware of the cost of time-to-implementation, ease of use, and ability to make updates in real-time," he adds. 

 

"My best advice to those looking to simplify their storage management challenges is to start by taking a thorough, honest look at the true recovery time and recovery point objectives that are required for your business," offers Vision Solutions' Arnold. "Then seek out a vendor whose solutions address capacity planning, disaster recovery, and high availability with proven technology that will scale as your environment grows. Also look for that vendor to provide a migration solution that will allow you to reorganize and modernize your storage infrastructure as needed. Planning for the worst-case scenario and looking for a partner that can address your HA/DR, migration, and capacity planning needs are the best steps your business can take to survive an unexpected outage."

 

"In terms of advice to IBM i customers, I would say, start with the business," Maxava's Campbell recommends. "What do they think is their critical data? What data do they need available online, and what can they wait to have extracted from archive? How long are they prepared to be without critical data? If there was a disaster, how much data would they be prepared to lose (the RPOrecovery point objective) and how long would they be prepared to wait to get access back to the data they managed to save (the RTOrecovery time objective)? Get them to think of DR and HA as an investment in terms of expanding and securing trading hours and in terms of it being equivalent to the insurance policies paid for insuring company building and other assts. Data needs to be treated at least as carefully as any other asset in a business. Once you have this information and guidance from the business, you know what the scope of the task is and hopefully you have business support for the budget to deliver to the requirement identified."

Unique Challenges in Storage for the IBM i

Clearly, much of this advice would apply to enterprises using any computing platform. Are there any particular pitfalls to which IBM i users should pay special attention?

 

"Traditional IBM i professionals have been slow to embrace the power of change," observes Richard Dolewski, chief business continuity officer at Maxava. "With the tools made available in the POWER framework and economies in delivering a virtual vs. physical storage management, the direction is clear. This is the new standard. Storage management is built into the operating environment and tightly integrated. The management is intuitive but should no longer be exclusively protected by a tape backup strategy."

 

"The IBM i platform is unique in many respects, and the skill sets necessary to manage it are unique," remarks Vision Solutions' Arnold. "For example, journaling at the operating system level provides transaction integrity for a platform that is essentially the ultimate in a caching solution where data is held in memory for performance reasons. Journal-based replication maintains this integrity, but hardware storage-based sector replication solutions, that work for other platforms, need additional constructs to account for cached data and single-level store addressing. Potential IBM i customers who are unfamiliar with the platform need to be aware of these differences."

 

Below are storage-management products for the IBM i that can help users of the platform get a better handle on managing their information retrieval. Please note that the brief descriptions here don't cover all the features each software product provides. You should consult the links provided for each product and contact the associated vendors for a more complete idea of what each product's capabilities include.

Storage Management Solutions for IBM i

ASG Software Solutions

ASG-Time Navigator for iSeries

ASG-Time Navigator is a backup and recovery solution for saving and restoring files from any point in time from any backup media for IBM i. Other versions of ASG-Time Navigator handle backup and recovery tasks for Linux, UNIX, and Windows servers.

 

Backup Technology Ltd.

Asigra

Asigra is an agentless backup and recovery system for networks running IBM, Linux, UNIX, Mac, and Windows OSes. It provides a single point for controlling backup activities and features 256-bit AES data encryption, FIPS 140-2 certification, WAN optimization, and backups for email systems as well as standard storage.

 

Asigra Cloud Backup

Asigra Cloud Backup is designed to provide backup and recovery services for public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. It can be purchased either as software for onsite personnel to use or as a SaaS service offering managed by Asigra.

 

Champion Solutions Group

Cloud Storage Strategies

Champion's Cloud Storage Strategies provides cloud-based backup and recovery, long-term archiving, and disaster-recovery services.

 

Server Virtualization

Server Virtualization services include backup/recovery/data-sharing with virtual servers, server consolidation, and disaster recovery.

 

CPS Technology Solutions

Service Solutions

CPS offers cloud-based service solutions for IBM i that include backup, recovery, and storage management.

 

Data Storage Corporation

SafeData Cloud

SafeData Cloud offers cloud-based "capacity-on-demand" backup services for IBM i, AIX, and Windows applications.

 

SafeData/Vault

The SafeData/Vault service supports centralized backup and recovery infrastructures featuring offsite storage and recovery, as well as automated deployment to desktop and mobile devices.

 

EMC

Avamar

Avamar is backup and data de-duplication software for IBM i and other servers running AIX and Linux. It emphasizes full daily backups and one-step recovery processes.

 

EVault

EVault Data Backup Software

EVault is a disk-to-disk data backup and recovery software for IBM i servers running i5/OS, AIX, or Linux, as well as other platforms. It builds backups dynamically to avoid recovery from incremental backups and encrypts backup data during transmission.

 

EVault SaaS

EVault also offers its backup software as part of a cloud-based backup service for a wide range of computer platforms.

 

EVault Software

Evault Software provides on-site backup and recovery services for multiplatform physical and virtual server environments.

 

Help/Systems

Robot/SAVE

Robot/SAVE includes automatic backup and recovery, backup-tape encryption, Lotus Domino online backup, automated restricted-state backups, and other features.

 

Robot/SPACE

Robot/SPACE monitors your ASPs, IASPs, libraries, IFS objects, active job storage levels, and more—automatically. It also monitors active job storage, collects disk space usage statistics, predicts future disk storage needs, and performs over 20 disk space cleanup duties.

 

HiT Software

DBMoto for IBM i

DBMoto for IBM i offers data replication and change data-capture for data-migration and integration projects and includes APIs for incorporation into custom applications.

 

DBMoto Cloud Edition

DBMoto Cloud Edition provides cloud-based data replication for moving or sharing data with remote systems.

 

Hosting.com

Availability and Recovery Services

Hosting.com incorporates cloud- and EMC-based backup and recovery services.

 

IBM Corporation

Tivoli Storage Manager

Tivoli Storage Manager is a family of products that handles backup, recovery, and storage-management servers for IBM i and other platforms running AIX, Linux, and Windows.

 

iSamBlue

Blue Cloud Services

Blue Cloud Services provides cloud-based backup and recovery and HA for IBM i and open-systems servers.

 

Lpar2rrd.com

LPAR2RRD

LPAR2RRD is an agentless, open-source freeware utility that generates historical, future-trend, and nearly "real-time" CPU utilization graphs of LPARs and shared CPU usage on IBM Power servers. It also collects complete logical and physical configurations of all connected LPARs and servers. The utility works with servers running i5/0S, AIX, Linux, and VIOS.

 

LXI Enterprise Storage

iSeries Open Client

The iSeries Open Client offering lets enterprises control backups of multiple open-systems servers from a single console.

 

Information Lifecycle Management

Information Lifecycle Management includes backup and recovery management, tape management, vault management, Lotus Notes/Domino hot backup, and tape encryption products and services for IBM i, AIX, and Linux servers, as well as servers using other operating systems.

 

Midrange Performance Group

Performance Navigator

Performance Navigator is a utility that runs on Windows PCs and carries out performance analysis on IBM i servers running i5/OS. The data produced includes capacity planning information helpful in formulating storage-management strategies.

 

Power Navigator

Power Navigator is a utility that runs on Windows PCs and carries out performance analysis on servers running AIX, Linux, Oracle Solaris, and HP-UX. The data produced includes capacity planning information helpful in formulating storage-management strategies.

 

Pinnacle Business Systems

TRAC/400

TRAC/400 software handles backup and recovery and media-management operations across multiple servers and interfaces with virtually all job-scheduling utilities.

 

Storix Software

System Backup for AIX

System Backup for AIX is an administrative system for controlling backup and recovery operations on servers running AIX, including IBM i.

High-Availability/Disaster-Recovery Products and Services for IBM i

Bug Busters Software Engineering

RSF-HA

RSF-HA replicates data, libraries, user profiles, system values, network attributes, and authorization lists to a hot backup machine and automatically creates journals needed to create an HA system.

 

Data Storage Corporation

IBM iSeries Disaster Recovery

The iSeries Disaster Recovery program is a service that includes back and recovery testing, disk-based data backup, and data encryption.

 

iSeries High Availability

Data Storage's iSeries High Availability is a hosted-service solution for HA that features disk-based storage, recovery in 15 minutes or less, and support for AIX, Linux, and Windows as well as i5/OS.

 

iSeries Virtual Recovery

Virtual Recovery is a hardware-free virtual backup and recovery service for IBM i that backs up data to a remote data center and restores it on demand via a virtual private network protected by password access and data encryption.

 

IBM Corporation

Copy Services CBU Companion Offering

The Copy Services CBU Companion Offering augments IBM Capacity Backup (CBU) servers with Independent Auxiliary Storage Pools (IASPs) and other i5/OS features to provide HA and DR services.

 

IBM PowerHA SystemMirror for i

IBM Power HA System Mirror for i is a hardware solution for automating high-availability and disaster-recovery operations. It offers a clustering solution that requires no downtime to operate and HA/DR protection with simplified setup.

 

IBM PowerHA SystemMirror for AIX

IBM PowerHA System for AIX offers services similar to IBM PowerHA SystemMirror for i.

 

IBM Systems Workload Estimator

The IBM Systems Workload Estimator is a browser-accessible tool for all IBM platforms that uses workload statistics to help administrators plan for future storage-management or system virtualization changes.

 

iSamBlue

iSB/RSF-HA

The iSB/RSF-HA offering provides simplified HA and disaster-recovery services for IBM i servers.

 

Maxava

Maxava HA Datastream

Maxava HA Datastream runs on backup servers to provide a one-way, data-only replication engine.

 

Maxava HA Enterprise+

Maxava HA Enterprise+ helps automate and manage HA role swaps between multiple servers by featuring realtime replication of data and applications, the maxview Manager utility for monitoring and controlling HA activities, and a command-scripting function.

 

Maxava HA SMB

Maxava HA SMB, aimed at SMB enterprises, facilitates replication of data and objects. It offers on-demand replication of data queues and data areas, support for role-swapping, and a unified monitoring capability.

 

Shield Advanced Solutions

DR4i

DR4i is a disaster-recovery solution that lets users replicate and apply all changes stored in a remote journal to a target system. Shield also offers a version of this product for PureFlex systems.

 

HA4i

HA4i is an HA solution for IBM i that uses Remote Journal functions to provide a simpler, easy-to-install, and uncomplicated-to-manage alternative to larger HA systems. HA41 includes a PHP-based user interface that lets users run everything from a single console. Shield also offers a version of this product for PureFlex systems.

 

Storagepipe

Online Backup and Recovery Service

Storagepipe's Online Backup and Recovery Service transmits changed data to a remote data center via an encrypted process to protect data from servers that must run 24/7 and provide DR.

 

SunGard

SunGard Availability Services

SunGard Availability Services includes cloud-based HA, managed Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), consulting, and business-continuity software.

 

21st Century Software

Storage Analytics

Storage Analytics in an administrative application that evaluates server storage to highlight methods for better use of existing storage assets, plan for future capacity needs with trending analyses, manage storage growth, and generate ongoing reports on enterprise storage resources.

 

Vision Solutions

Double-Take Availability

Vision Solution's Double-Take Availability provides HA services for servers running AIX and Linux, including IBM i. By providing failover protection for those operating systems, the product replicates to remote DR sites via standard IP networks.

 

Double-Take Recover Now

Double-Take Recover Now is a disaster-recovery solution for servers running AIX. It also integrates with IBM's PowerHA for AIX to extend the IBM product's offsite DR and recovery capabilities.

 

iTera Availability

Based on remote journaling, iTera Availability maintains a complete backup of production and other designated systems or devices (e.g., tape systems) and switches users to the backup system on demand.

 

MIMIX Availability

MIMIX Availability replicates applications, data, and system values in real time from a production server to a backup server. Offered in three versions with accumulating features for enterprises of various sizes, the product ensures that backup systems are ready to run as needed.

 

MIMIX DR

MIMIX DR offers entry-level disaster-recovery services for IBM i servers.

 

MIMIX Global

MIMIX Global is designed to handle multiple-node HA installations. Equipped with a browser interface and available in three editions of varying capabilities, MIMIX Global provides automated help for maintaining backup systems, alerting personnel to problems requiring switchovers, and managing transitions to backup systems.

 

OMS/ODS

OMS/ODS, designed for larger enterprises, maintains exact or near-realtime images of multiple systems that include all applications, data, and system objects. Available in both Professional and Enterprise editions, its multi-CPU design can replicate environments of any complexity and keep them available for failover at any time.

 

 

John Ghrist

John Ghrist has been a journalist, programmer, and systems manager in the computer industry since 1982. He has covered the market for IBM i servers and their predecessor platforms for more than a quarter century and has attended more than 25 COMMON conferences. A former editor-in-chief with Defense Computing and a senior editor with SystemiNEWS, John has written and edited hundreds of articles and blogs for more than a dozen print and electronic publications. He is currently CEO of John Ghrist Agency, a marketing communications firm for technology companies. You can reach him at ghrist@comcast.net.

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    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"

     

  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally

     

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    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 NodeRun.com 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.

     

     

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

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    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • 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.