Can we maintain business continuity and data integrity for mission-critical, traditional applications without breaking a sweat? Meeting service level objectives through multiple high availability (HA), disaster recovery and backup options may seem like an ominous task, especially trying to leverage the cloud to quickly recover from system failures without needing to resort to costly and potentially disruptive hardware-based alternatives. Let us consider how understanding the fundamentals of ‘backup’ and HA cluster environments may lessen our worry when it comes to risk management.
Replication and backup
First and foremost, whilst backup, replication, and failover are all important to risk management and are complementary to each other, there are key differences among them. An example is replication. It can be used to maintain a continuously up-to-date copy of data. But it will also copy any problematic data which, for example, could have been infected with a virus.
Backup software would be considered an essential element here, as it would bring data back to the last known healthy state. So both are a good combination to achieve.
The High Availability environment – backup
Whether it is for systems running databases, file sharing on a network, electronic commerce websites, or other applications requiring a nonstop operation, the SIOS Protection Suite is HA clustering software where application health is continuously monitored. However, backup is still an essential ingredient and certain targets would need to be met when considering this combination. I won’t cover all of them but let me just mention two target examples.
The SIOS Protection Suite includes clustering software such as the LifeKeeper / DataKeeper programs. Standard third-party OS backup software not only restores business applications but can recover the Suite if the two programs were to suddenly disappear (perhaps due to disk failure). Although using OS backup software may seem tedious, it certainly saves the need to reinstall the Suite and avoids a possible loss of data.
The second example target on the list should be the backup of the Suite’s configuration data, so a return to an original operational state can be achieved. LifeKeeper includes a command called lkbackup, and when executed, configuration data is maintained. This would always be done in the following scenarios:
- Immediately after installing newly created SIOS LifeKeeper resources
- Before and after changing the SIOS LifeKeeper configuration (adding/changing dependencies, adding/deleting resources)
- Before and after a SIOS LifeKeeper version upgrade
Even if configuration data is corrupted due to human error/operational mistakes, you can quickly return to the original config’ state.
In the long run, well worth the effort and lots of expense and time saved, with smooth-running, worry-free maintenance established.