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Symantec speeds up failover for Windows apps

Symantec Corp. today launched Veritas Storage Foundation High Availability 6.0 for Windows, designed for faster failover of Windows server applications and recovery of Windows Server Hyper-V virtual machines for disaster recovery.

Veritas SFHA 6.0 consists of Veritas Storage Foundation 6.0 for Windows and Veritas Cluster Server 6.0 for Windows. Symantec claims Veritas SFHA 6.0 reduces the failover time from about 30 minutes to one minute for business critical server applications because the software now uses an Intelligent Monitoring Framework with asynchronous monitoring instead of the traditional Monitoring Framework with polling monitoring. The polling monitoring typically takes up most of the time during a failover process because an alert is sent without taking formal action. A failure is detected instantaneously with asynchronous monitoring and action is taken faster.

“The biggest chunk of times was the polling process,” said Jennifer Ellard, a senior manager in Symantec’s Storage and High Availability Group. “We changed the paradigm from polling-based to asynchronous monitoring, which allows us to take action faster. We plug into Windows so we can get the information instantaneously.”

Ellard said failover is up to 30 times faster because many of the storage reconnection steps have been automated. Previously, the storage disk group was only available to the target server and not the standby servers. When a failover occurred, all the data in the disk group had to be imported into the new nodes and the disks had to be re-scanned. The Veritas SFHA 6.0 for Windows software now allows multi-node access to a shared volume, eliminating the need to import disk groups to the new systems and re-scan disks.

Veritas SFHA 6.0 for Windows now supports Hyper-V virtual machines with a feature that automates the end-to-end disaster recovery process. The 6.0 version helps coordinate the process for virtual machines with Windows Server 2008 RS Failover Cluster to automate the detection of site-wide failures and the recovery steps such as storage replication control, VM site localization and DNS updates.

Ellard said 6.0 allows for disaster recovery across any distance. “Typically, you can failover up to 100 Kilometers in virtual environments,” Ellard said. “We enable customers to failover across any distance. We do this by asynchronous replications in Hyper-V environments.”

Veritas Storage Foundation 6.0 for Windows also allows live migrations, such as when administrators need to move VMs from server to server along with the associated storage. SF 6.0 supports Windows Server Hyper-V live migration, which does the actual movement of the VMs while the Symantec software handles the storage that is associated with the VMs. Ellard describes this as a “big customer request.”

Veritas SFHA 6.0 for Windows also includes Virtual Business Services (VBS) for recovery of applications across multiple business units, operating systems and storage platforms. VBS is designed to give administrators and business groups a coordinated method for automated high availability and recovery of multiple, interdependent applications, plus all the supporting physical and virtual technologies.

Veritas SFHA 6.0 will be generally available on Dec. 5

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