When Doing Less - Means More of What Matters for Mainframe Resilience

By Hubert Yoshida posted 02-05-2018 00:00



Problem Statement

IBM Mainframe environments are strategic to many of our mission critical business systems. Whether or not your environment uses mainframes, you may be more dependent on the resilience of mainframe systems in the outside world than you might imagine. For instance, financial systems around the world are interconnected, and some core financial systems must be able to recover from a system outage within 2 hours, in order for other  systems to recover in 4 hours and still others in 24 hours, like ripples in a pond. You can be sure that most of these core financial systems run their mission critical applications on mainframes due to their long history of resiliency, manageability, and standardization in recovering mainframe-based applications and data. Add to that IBM’s conscientious effort to add new functions and feature as new technologies, deployment models, and threats have evolved. The gold standard for IT resilience is IBM’s Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS) family of offerings for the mainframe.

As a result, GDPS has grown in complexity as the family of offerings has grown to cover nearly every possible threat to resiliency. Currently the GDPS family includes the following products:

            GDPS/PPRC based on IBM PPRC synchronous disk mirroring technology

GDPS/PPRC HyperSwap Manager

GDPS/MTMM based on IBM Multi-Target Metro Mirror synchronous disk,

IBM GDPS Virtual Appliance, a near-CA or DR solution across two sites

GDPS/XRC based on IBM Extended Remote Copy (XRC) asynchronous disk mirroring  GDPS/Global Mirror based on the IBM System Storage® Global Mirror technology

            GDPS/Metro-Global Mirror 3 site with two Metro and one asynch mirror

GDPS/MGM 4-site symmetrical 4-site solution provides Continuous Availability within region and DR across regions

GDPS/Active-Active, asynchronous mirroring between two active production sysplexes

GDPS automation code which relies on the runtime capabilities of IBM Tivoli NetView® and IBM Tivoli System Automation (SA)


GDPS  also includes an extensive list  of services. GDPS implementations have a unique requirement or attribute that makes it different from every other implementation. The services aspect of each offering requires experienced GDPS practitioners. The amount of service included depends on the scope of the offering. For example, function-rich offerings such as GDPS/PPRC include a larger services component than GDPS/PPRC HyperSwap Manager.

Competitive Offerings

IBM GDPS is designed to provide near-continuous data and systems availability across sites separated by virtually unlimited distances. Its roadmap and features include something for everyone, including future additional configurations that can lead to full active-active function. GDPS comprises a myriad of complex products and architectures to address various customer requirements.

Dell EMC’s Geographically Dispersed Disaster Restart (GDDR) is focused on automating disaster restart of applications and systems within mainframe environments in the event of a planned or unplanned outage. Also intricate in design, GDDR leverages multiple architectures and replication suites to eliminate any single point of failure for disaster restart plans in mainframe environments.

Solutions like GDPS and GDDR attempt to take the “everything to everyone” approach which can quickly add greater complexity and risk into the very environments you wish to simplify. It can be phenomenally difficult and stressful to configure and implement all the intricacies, map to existing tools and add software. Then, you must ensure you have the resources to manage a solution of magnitude. With the effort expended to implement these large solutions, you can end up with a semi-permanent level of vendor lock-in.

Enter, Hitachi Mainframe Recovery Manager

Hitachi Vantara has a long, proven history of delivering mainframe resilience. At Hitachi Vantara, we use mainframe services across many of our own businesses and support an ever-expanding ecosphere of mainframe tiering, analytics and functionality for customers. We have learned from decades of mainframe experience that the simpler the solution, the better. Together, our mainframe resiliency solutions are straightforward, scalable and streamlined. Hitachi Mainframe Recovery Manager (HMRM) is a simpler, more focused and lower-cost streamlined mainframe failover and recovery solution which can provide you with the functionality you actually care about and nothing you don’t.

We listened and collaborated with our mainframe customers to understand what resonates most for them to achieve modern business resiliency. Hitachi Mainframe Recovery Manager delivers mainframe processor, host and replication orchestration. Mainframe Recovery Manager is practical and easy to deploy, so you get results faster, without the typical complexity, risk or cost. Mainframe Recovery Manager is delivered as a service and is based on one cohesive, tightly integrated architecture for singular simplicity.

Hitachi Mainframe Recovery Manager delivers unique processor orchestration capabilities via IBM’s Base Control Program internal interface (BCPii). HMRM executes IBM BCPii commands to maintain attributes of production Image — also known as a logical partition (LPAR) — being managed and to orchestrate the Reset, Deactivate, Activate and Load of processor Images or LPARs. These BCPii Commands are identical to the commands issued manually by any IBM Z Processor Customer from the hardware management console (HMC). The beauty of Mainframe Recovery Manager’s minimalistic architecture is that you can manually intervene, using familiar HMC commands, to affect automation issues. Additionally, Mainframe Recovery Manager allows:

  • Authorized z/OS applications to have control over systems in the HMC network.
  • Direct communication with management console Support Elements rather than going over an IP network.
  • A z/OS address space to manage authorized interaction with the interconnected hardware


The HMRM Managed Service Offering

Unlike DR solutions that require you to mastermind and manage many moving parts, Hitachi Mainframe Recovery Manager solution is delivered as a managed service. We deliver greater orchestration, so you can recover easier, faster and more completely.

Mainframe Recovery Manager Services begin with an assessment of your unique mainframe ecosystem. We work with you to tailor Mainframe Recovery Manager to your specific goals. You may prefer a single, push-the-button environment or customized automation levels for various stages of failover and testing. Full implementation and ongoing support are included in Mainframe Recovery Manager Services. If you are new to Hitachi Vantara replication, our services experts can also manage the complete design and implementation, along with any migrations you require.

Where GDPS and GDDR may typically take 7 months to implement. Hitachi Mainframe Recovery Manager Services’ simpler approach, will take a fraction of that time.

Summary of HMRM Benefits

In summary, Hitachi Mainframe Recovery Manager removes the burden of juggling all those replication activities so you can improve mainframe resiliency — and do more with less. Mainframe Recovery Manager is a sleek, simplified and cost-efficient approach that is instrumental in orchestrating the “restart” of IBM Z processors, operating systems and custom applications, in half the time of competitive GDPS and GDDR solutions in the following circumstances.


  • Unplanned disaster event from the primary site to a secondary site.
  • Planned production workload switch from primary site to secondary site.
  • Planned production workload switch back from secondary site to primary site.
  • Planned disaster recovery test in parallel to production running “business-as-usual” at the primary site.

For More Information

To learn more about how Hitachi Mainframe Recovery Manager can improve your mainframe resiliency goals, please visit