One of the coolest capabilities introduced in the last year for VMAX was the ability to support active-active replication with SRDF Metro. In a nutshell, it allows the data from 2 sites to be replicated over a synchronous distance while allowing the data to be accessed (read and written to) from either location. Allowing both sites to be simultaneously accessed means that in the event of failure (storage, network, host, or even the entire site), the application can still run from the surviving location. Thus making the application almost unbreakable.
For decades, an active-active capability was considered the “holy grail” of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity. But unless you were a select member of the Mainframe community with highly advanced and specialized (ie extremely sophisticated and complex) trading or transaction processing apps, these capabilities were out of the reach of most IT organizations. Technologies like VPLEX Metro and now SRDF Metro extended this level of active-active replication to Open Systems and Virtual environments, making it available for a wider range of application types and use cases.
The science and wizardry behind being “active-active” eliminates the need to point the host at the available copy and restart the application. Everything just magically continues to run without interruption. It means recovery service levels can be dramatically improved, not only maintaining a recovery point objective (RPO) of “0” with no data loss, but also adding a recovery time objective (RTO) of “0” as well. Big stuff for the IT pro’s who obsess over making sure mission critical apps are up and running 24x7xforever.
One of the cool things admins love about it is the radical ease of use and simplicity to set up and manage the environment. Compared to other alternatives, SRDF Metro takes a minute or so to set up. It also includes a rich set of capabilities to allow the copies to be used in a number of ways to support a range of use cases including switching between primary and secondary sites with a single click.
Since seeing is believing, here’s the Geek Pit episode where the Geektastic Melissa Gurney (aka @SolutionGeek) and I run a live SRDF metro environment though the paces. And while setting it up was fun and easy, watching Melissa try to break it by virtually pulling cables and operating a back hoe was even cooler.
So is SRDF Metro really unbreakable? Check it here to see for yourself.