CATEGORY: Database Performance & Systems Management

REVIEWER: Van Rownd, vice president of information services for RMI.

BACKGROUND: RMI is the largest independent provider of accurate, reliable, comprehensive and secure rail information services to the transportation industry. Currently, we process 5 million carloads annually for railroads, rail shippers and railcar owners. These businesses rely on RailConnect, an integrated suite of proprietary information services accessed through RMI's Web-based portal, to manage rail operations, improve customer service and reduce costs. RMI's services include transportation, revenue, equipment, freight and fleet management, and related executive information systems. Going forward, the company will explore other complementary transportation segments where they can leverage their existing infrastructure and intelligent systems to diversify their business. RMI is an independent, privately owned company based in Atlanta.

PLATFORMS: Two iSeries version 5.2. 4-way/8-way multiprocessors under logical partitions.

PROBLEM SOLVED: RMI services an industry that runs 24x7, is acutely time-sensitive and gravely conscious of precise trafficking and safety measures. A high availability (HA) solution is mandatory. Without an HA solution, should the system go down, customers could face a disastrous scenario. Clients could find themselves in a situation where they have admitted a train, but the next railroad doesn't know the train is coming or where it is on line.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: RMI has two systems, one in each location, and four production environments/partitions in each location. Each partition in each location is mirrored to the other location. By mirroring RMI production environments in this manner, Vision Suite by Vision Solutions provides a reliable level of disaster and business continuity services. Should a processor go down, Vision Suite allows RMI to switch the railroad to a backup processor within minutes. Also, should one location go down, users can be switched to one of the other locations, ensuring continuous uptime.

STRENGTHS: The strengths of Vision Suite include powerful role swap capability, reliability and ease of use. When we installed Vision Suite, our customer satisfaction increased 1,000 percent.

WEAKNESS: Vision Suite does not have automatic messaging alert.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Vision Suite was already installed when I came on board. I am extremely happy with it and have found no reason to consider any other solution.

DELIVERABLES: Vision Suite provides total system mirroring for disaster recovery, business continuity, and planned and unplanned downtime. Release updates are completed easily and downtime is virtually nonexistent.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support has been excellent – it is always available. Also, through Vision our clustered systems/IASP concepts are being pretested in IBM's Rochester labs. IASP is a new concept being implemented in iSeries, and to have that level of support to beta test is tremendous.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is clear, concise and easy to understand. We can most definitely run the product based on the documentation.

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