IBM Disaster Recovery States

The primary driver for licensing DR for IBM is the software title and version.

There may be specific licensing rules for the software product, and those will override the general DR licensing rules.

Before giving an example of specific software title examples, here are the standby states as IBM defines them:

  • HOT – processing requests. Otherwise, known as Active-Active solution with logical replication.
  • WARM – started but not processing requests. In other words, IDLE or Active-Passive solution like IBM’s PowerHA installations.  To further check the criteria, a warm backup solution supports point-in-time copies of the production data.
  • COLD – installed, but not started. This machine needs to be booted up to bring this machine into production.  An example of this would be VM Restart.

If there is no title-specific DR-specific licensing listed, then IBM’s general policy is

  • HOT requires both servers to be licensed because the software is concurrently running on both the production and backup machines.
  • Warm and Cold do not require both nodes to be licensed, just the primary production node.

What about DR Testing?

IBM understands the need for an organization to test recovery readiness.  For testing purposes, only a point-in-time copy of the production data can be used as a test at a separate location, and it will be discarded after completing the test and/or used for off-line backup operations.

Testing is intended to be temporary, and IBM allows up to four tests a year lasting up to 72 hours each.  These tests are not to include any productive work, program testing, maintenance, or development.

By definition, this is for testing only warm and cold solutions, since hot is always running and licensed.

What happens in a Disaster Event?

IBM defines this as an event where the entire data center is rendered inoperable due to an external force such as flooding, fire, or earthquake.  A hardware outage or software failure is not considered a Disaster Event by IBM.

The Disaster Recovery site can run the production workload up to 70 days.  If more than 70 days are required, the software entitlements must be permanently transferred to the DR location.  Note: if eligible under the software terms and conditions.  If not, you can no longer use the IBM software at the Disaster Recovery location.

Examples of Software Titles with different DR rules:

  • DB2 Enterprise Server Edition – If the primary server is licensed under the PVU metric, then the secondary/standby server must be licensed for 100 PVUs per virtual server or unpartitioned physical server.
  • MQ and Advanced MQ – IBM offers an MQ Idle Standby license at a reduced cost.  Warm or Idle standby must be licensed with this license, or a regular, unrestricted use license.
  • Netcool/OMNIbus – This title is tricky and a great example of reading the licensing for particular titles.  Netcool/OMNIbus is a network monitoring and alert management system.  The products work together with a centralized collection point as the base install and also connection and device licenses, depending on what Netcool’s monitoring.

If the base install, which receives the alerts and monitoring data, has a Hot Standby with configurations including, but not limited to: High Availability, failover and failback connections to the ObjectServer database configured for Hot Standby, event store and forward, peer to peer heartbeating, and event resynchronization with restarting element management systems – you’d expect to license the second base install, based on IBM’s general licensing rules for a Hot Standby.  BUT you’d also have to have a second license for each of the connections and devices.  That could be a lot of second licenses.

Luckily, these connections and devices are licensed by the Resource Value Unit (RVU) metric.  RVUs have a tiered conversion table so as you buy larger quantities, the conversion rate becomes more favorable.  Please refer to Miro’s previous blog post on RVUs.

It’s easy to fall out of compliance with your IBM disaster recovery configuration.  Contact Miro to learn more about how we can support your team in acheiving IBM compliance and getting the best possible price, terms, and conditions in your IBM contracts.