Sybase Ports Data Mirroring System to Oracle

Sybase Mirror Activator, designed to provide a full-featured live backup database, is now available for use with Oracle's enterprise databases.

Enterprise database and storage software maker Sybase announced April 25 that it has ported its data mirroring system—which combines transactional and storage replication capabilities to enable, in effect, a full-featured live backup database—to work with Oracles enterprise databases.

Sybase Mirror Activator, which debuted for use on the companys ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise) database in 2004, enables organizations to reduce failover time from "days or hours to minutes or seconds, compared to other systems," Sybase Mirror Activator Product Manager Rick Linden told, "with no data loss in the event of a system failure."

"Mirror Activator maintains the exact state of the system in both synchronous and asynchronous mode and all the applications that go with it," Linden said.

The port was made available when Sybase finalized a data log reader specifically for Oracle systems that performed up to specifications. "Well be announcing ports to other systems—including open-source databases—in the near future," Linden said.

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Sybases mirroring system differs from a typical storage system backup in that it maintains its live transaction ability, and is not simply a "cold" backup copy of the data, Linden said. It does this by separating out and backing up only the data log, or transaction, files when they land on the block, instead of the whole block of data, he said.

"Effective business continuity software can be an expensive insurance policy," Linden said. "Organizations that have mission-critical applications and zero tolerance for downtime or data loss often establish synchronized, redundant failover systems whose sole purpose is to ensure ongoing access to their systems during an emergency.

"These systems are complex, expensive, and lie idle much of the time. The mirroring system enhances them by reducing network costs, accelerating recovery time, and guaranteeing data integrity."

Although it has not been ported directly, Mirror Activator also can be configured to work in conjunction with other third-party disaster recovery software, such as EMCs SRDF (Symmetrix Remote Data Facility), which replicates data to remote locations using either synchronous or asynchronous modes of operation, said representatives of Sybase, headquartered in Dublin, Calif.

"With Sybase extending support for Oracle, more of our mutual customers can leverage their current investment in SRDF to maximize business continuity and protect their information," said EMC Vice President of Platforms Marketing Barbara Robidoux, in Hopkinton, Mass.

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The mirroring system also sets itself apart in the market, Linden said, with another feature he called "store replication."

"If you want to kill a million rows in a DB file, for example, that would take a long time for somebody to do by hand," he said. "Using Mirror Activator, you can kill one row, and all the rest will be automated. You can also do this with calculations, insertions and other commands."

Mirror Activator can also be configured to complement replication software from vendors such as Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Network Appliance and Symantec-Veritas.

"As companies are trying to extend the capabilities of their disaster recovery solutions, a key challenge is to get storage and database replication services to work more closely together," said Rhoda Phillips, storage research manager at IDC, in Framingham, Mass.

"Solutions like Sybases Mirror Activator for Oracle that seek to combine the best elements of storage and transactional replication will help companies improve failover times, ensure transactional integrity and provide a warm standby in a storage replication environment," Phillips said.

Linden cited the use case of a New York bank that switched to using the Mirror Activator after it took its central database down on a Saturday for routine maintenance and then suffered a serious failover problem during the downtime. The IT staff couldnt get the database back up and running until about 24 hours later, he said.

The hole in the banks business continuum was serious enough for bank executives to be extremely concerned about the overall availability of the database, so they ordered the mirroring software for their ASE database, and "since then the system has been up and running with a warm [live] standby," Linden said.

Mirror Activator for Sybase and Oracle environments is available now.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...