Server Farming

Sep 21 2010   2:25PM GMT

SolarWinds rolls out failover additions to its management suite

Ryan Arsenault Ryan Arsenault Profile: Ryan Arsenault

IT management software company SolarWinds recently rolled out a new disaster recovery option for admins for the monitoring of Orion servers – the Orion Failover Engine (FoE). 

In the event of server network interruptions, the FoE provides a two-minute failover to a remote server to ensure no interruption in network performance. The FoE then takes over the duties of the primary Orion server and takes on all responsibilities such as monitoring, reporting and data collection.  In addition, the FoE provides e-mail notifications in the event of critical network thresholds being breached, the automation of failover tasks such as updating DNS records and creating processes, and the minimization of WAN traffic. We spoke with one engineer for a state government branch that uses the product who specifically likes how the FoE’s alerting system is laid out, even if the Orion environment were to go down.

“Prior to the Orion Failover Engine, there wasn’t a product from SolarWinds that allowed you to monitor your Orion environment without using the alerting engine within Orion itself,” said the engineer.  “Alerting is now independent from your Orion’s alerting engine. I’d much rather be working on bringing Orion back up when one of my customers calls to tell me about the outage than have to say ‘Really?  Let me look into that and I’ll give you a call back in a bit.’” 

Other features the engineer discussed as being beneficial include keeping the same IP address of the FoE during a failover and the ability to quickly monitor not only the Orion application, but key server components such as the OS and server services. He also thought that the engine would enhance their current DR strategy, despite the fact that their Orion servers aren’t first priority.

“Because we’re a state government, our first priority in DR is our ‘critical systems’ such as state police and the Department of Health.  When compared with systems such as those, Orion doesn’t rank as a critical system when recovering to our DR site,” said the engineer. “We replicate our databases, but in order to recover Orion from a disaster, I’d have to rebuild our Orion servers and then point them to the replicated database. Since the Failover Engine can be configured to work on different networks, I can have the standby system at the DR site. The state of the primary will be kept up to date on the standby system at the DR site, and all I would have to do to be up and running is point the DR servers to the replicated database.”

You can try out a demo of the product and learn more about the product over at SolarWinds’ site.

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