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Symantec Veritas Cluster Server (VCS) Takes Virtual Server HA to the Next Level

The latest version of Veritas Cluster Server (VCS) for VMware will be a welcome addition to vSphere sites that have been looking for an application-oriented solution to ensuring business continuity in their virtual infrastructures. Up until now, most high availability solutions have focused on the health of virtual machines, often with little to no knowledge of the applications running inside them. Other such solutions have provided some level of application-specific protection, but have not worked with advanced virtualization features, such as vMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) in VMware environments.

  • Premiered: 10/23/12
  • Author: Jeff Byrne
  • Published: Taneja Blog
Topic(s): Veritas Cluster Server VCS Symantec HA Virtualization VMWare

Making The Virtual Infrastructure Non-stop: And Making Availability Efficient with Symantec’s VCS

The past few years have seen virtualization rapidly move into the mainstream of the data center. Today, virtualization is often the defacto standard in the data center for deployment of any application or service. This includes important operational and business systems that are the lifeblood of the business.

For mission critical systems, customers necessarily demand a broader level of services than is common among the test and development environments where virtualization often gains its foothold in the data center. It goes almost without saying that topmost in customer’s minds are issues of availability.

Availability is a spectrum of technology that offers businesses many different levels of protection – from general recoverability to uninterruptable applications. At the most fundamental level, are mechanisms that protect the data and the server beneath applications. While in the past these mechanisms have often been hardware and secondary storage systems, VMware has steadily advanced the capabilities of their vSphere virtualization offering, and it includes a long list of features – vMotion, Storage vMotion, vSphere Replication, VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager, vSphere High Availability, and vSphere Fault Tolerance. While clearly VMware is serious about the mission critical enterprise, each of these offerings have retained a VMware-specific orientation toward protecting the “compute instance”.

The challenge is that protecting a compute instance does not go far enough. It is the application that matters, and detecting VM failures may fall short of detecting and mitigating application failures.

With this in mind, Symantec has steadily advanced a range of solutions for enhancing availability protection in the virtual infrastructure. Today this includes ApplicationHA – developed in partnership with VMware – and their gold standard offering of Veritas Cluster Server (VCS) enhanced for the virtual infrastructure. We recently turned an eye toward how these solutions enhance virtual availability in a hands-on lab exercise, conducted remotely from Taneja Group Labs in Phoenix, AZ. Our conclusion: VCS is the only HA/DR solution that can monitor and recover applications on VMware that is fully compatible with typical vSphere management practices such as vMotion, Dynamic Resource Scheduler and Site Recovery Manager, and it can make a serious difference in the availability of important applications.

Publish date: 01/31/13
news / Blog

Virtualized applications - how do you protect uptime?

Did you know that you might not get quite the availability and capability you want from a typical virtualization initiative, even if you're planning for mission critical applications? The reality is that VMware goes pretty far, and delivers vast improvements in availability over non-virtual infrastructure, but you can do a little better, and you might want to do a little better for critical apps.


Are Your Critical Business Services Protected?

In many ways, Information Technology (IT) has become the centerpiece of business operations across the globe.  This dynamic is both an opportunity and a threat to IT organizations.  On one hand, IT has a very important seat at the table as businesses decide where to invest or deploy new offerings and services.  On the other hand, IT organizations now become responsible for ensuring that these business services, and the data that drives them, are always available.

To ensure availability, IT must have a comprehensive business continuity plan in place, especially for critical operations that the business requires.   However, business critical services are no longer just a matter of managing a single application or workload running on a solitary server.  Instead, business critical services are often sets of interwoven components made up of multiple physical and virtual servers that depend upon one another.    Seldom does a business critical application stand alone, or act with complete independence from other systems in the data center. 

This complexity introduces challenges and compromises that the business is little prepared to understand or recognize.  Often, when it comes to business continuity, issues are not recognized until it is too late.  Many systems may have had a more manageable approach to continuity in the physical world.  Now, with the agility characteristics that virtualization introduces, viewing, controlling and protecting the complete business service, especially when that service is made up of multiple physical and virtual components becomes a larger challenge.  Considering the intersection of the business critical applications that run on physical and virtual infrastructure, IT needs a better capability for viewing and protecting the entire service being delivered to a business. 

In this solution brief, we’ll look at what a Business Service is comprised of, and the challenges and options for business continuity across disparate physical and virtual infrastructure.

Publish date: 04/12/13

Making your Virtual Infrastructure Non-Stop: Making availability efficient with Symantec products

All businesses have a core set of applications and services that are critical to their ongoing operation and growth. They are the lifeblood of a business. Many of these applications and services are run in virtual machines (VM), as over the last decade virtualization has become the de facto standard in the datacenter for the deployment of applications and services. Some applications and services are classified as business critical. These business critical applications require a higher level of resilience and protection to minimize the impact on a business’s operation if they become inoperable.

The ability to quickly recover from an application outage has become imperative in today’s datacenter. There are various methods that offer different levels of protection to maintain application uptime. These methods range from minimizing the downtime at the application level to virtual machine (VM) recovery to physical system recovery. Prior to virtualization, mechanisms were in place to protect physical systems and were based on having secondary hardware and redundant storage systems. However, as noted above, today most systems have been virtualized. The market leader in virtualization, VMware, recognized the importance of availability early on and created business continuity features in vSphere such as vMotion, Storage vMotion, vSphere Replication, vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM), vSphere High Availability (HA) and vSphere Fault Tolerance (FT). These features have indeed increased the uptime of applications in the enterprise, yet they are oriented toward protecting the VM. The challenge, as many enterprises have discovered, is that protecting the VM alone does not guarantee uptime for applications and services. Detecting and remediating VM failure falls short of what is truly vital, detecting and remediating application and service failures.

With application and service availability in mind, companies such as Symantec have come in to provide availability and resiliency for them. Focusing on improving how VMware can deliver application availability, Symantec has developed a set of solutions to meet the high availability and disaster recovery requirements of business critical applications. These solutions include Symantec ApplicationHA (developed in partnership with VMware) and Symantec Cluster Server powered by Veritas (VCS). Both of these products have been enhanced to work in a VMware-based virtual infrastructure environment.

Publish date: 04/13/15