Stopping High Availability Sprawl – DH2i Briefing Note

Almost every organization has a group of applications that must always be available. The cost of downtime is so significant that IT will want to expend large chunks of the IT budget to make sure they are available. Because of the link between these investments and revenue, or loss of revenue, the organization usually approves these expenses. The problem, other than the cost, is each application or operating system platform has its own high availability (HA) solution, which leads to a sprawl that further complicates an already complicated process and slows digital transformation.

HA sprawl also leads to operating system sprawl since most HA environments are only designed to run one instance of the application per server or virtual machine.

IT needs to look for a new class of HA solutions that can work across platforms and applications so that HA can become a data center-wide service instead of a never-ending set of siloed solutions. Additionally, HA solutions should do more than protect against worst-case scenarios, hardware or software failures. They should also help the application find and move to its best execution venue. An application being “up” is no longer sufficient, meeting the organization’s performance expectations, no matter the condition of the software and hardware, is the new requirement.

Understanding Best Execution Venue

An execution venue is an alternative source of compute, typically another server that is either on-premises or cloud-based. The Best Execution Venue (BEV) is the location that is ideal for the application, in that it has sufficient compute resources available and is running an operating system with which the IT team is most familiar.

Replication is not HA

Replication is commonplace today. The feature is available in storage systems, operating systems and clustering software. What are missing are the abilities to abstract applications, so their instances can be more portable, and to move workloads automatically, based on specific conditions (failed state or unacceptable performance).

Introducing DH2i DxEnterprise v17.5

DH2i’s DxEnterprise (DxE) is a high availability solution that abstracts applications, making them more portable. It allows multiple applications to be safely stacked on a single physical server or even within a single virtual machine. Policies can be set to move workloads based on failure status or performance conditions. DxE supports encapsulated SQL Server and Oracle instances, and stateful Docker containers, as well as Windows Application Services and File Shares.

In version 17.5 DxE creates a unified Windows/Linux solution for databases, Docker and generic services. It adds native support for SQL Server 2017 Availability Groups with automatic Windows/Linux failover. It can manage and orchestrate the failover and movement of generic Linux services, including Linux databases. It also adds cloud support with automatic Windows/Linux cluster failover on AWS and Azure. While DH2i today does not provide its own replication, it can work with any shared or replicated storage or SQL Server Availability Groups.

DxE eliminates HA sprawl by creating a multi-platform highly available cluster. With SQL Server Availability Group support that means that the software can manage the failover between Windows, Linux, and cloud-based venues. Using shared and/or replicated storage, IT can create a mixed HA cluster that supports SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Docker containers and other services, all driven by a single software solution. The result should be reduced costs, less operating system deployments, and simpler operations.

StorageSwiss Take

Providing High Availability to an organization’s applications is a high-pressure aspect of IT responsibilities. Forcing IT to use a different HA solution for each application further complicates matters while increasing costs. DH2i’s DxEnterprise can consolidate the HA responsibility to a single solution that also monitors for best performance venues and allows better optimization of server and operating system investments.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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Posted in Briefing Note

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