Virtualization Pro

Dec 11 2007   9:51PM GMT

Can VMware HA give 100% uptime for a database?

Kutz Profile: Akutz

Systems admin Michael Gildersleeve is evaluating VMware for High Availability (VMware HA); but he’s not sure if that product is going to work well with his legacy software. He’s not sure, either, if HA is as mature and robust as other products on the market.

I’m answering his call for more information. I hope that you will, too, either by commenting on this post or emailing me a jstafford@techtarget.com.

Gildersleeve works for a company that has a Progress database running on a UNIX server. Hundreds of Windows clients and Web applications are attached to that database and server through Progress Brokers via service file ports.

“I need to provide 365 by 24 by 7 up time,” Gildersleeve said. “With our new web business, East and West coast facilities, and vendors managing our stock and replenishment, we need to be available all of the time.”

He wants to run his database across at least two servers, in a setup like an Oracle Real Application Cluster.

“This would allow me to upgrade the OS (operating system), reboot a server or take a server down for maintenance without affecting the database or the users. So far I have only found solutions that will give me a two-to-five minute downtime between switching from one server to another.”

Gildersleeve has looked a little at server virtualization. He’s evaluating server virtualization options and VMware HA to see if he can cut the downtime to nil. It seems to him, however, that virtualization options only cover one server at a time. He wants 100% uptime across several servers used for database activities.

“What if I need to do an OS update or patch, or what if some critical hardware fails? What I have seen so far is that if I upgrade my Progress app to v10 (Progress OpenEdge), and then move to two Integrity servers running (VMware) High Availibility; if one server fails or if we need to do maintenance on a server, we can manually switch to the second server. But the problem with this is that my users will feel the switch because I will need to bring one server down. They will need to log out and in again to the app, or whatever needs to be done to bring the ready server into production mode.”

Gildersleeve is willing to evaluate Sun Microsystems options, if they are truly viable for running Progress. Microsoft operating systems are out of the question, however.

In his evaluations, Gildersleeve has come up with a lot of questions, and he’s looking for advice from HA experts. Could you provide some advice and share your experiences by commenting on this post or emailing me a jstafford@techtarget.com?

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