Availability of the applications is one of the important requirements for business critical applications. The vSphere platform provides capabilities to protect against hardware and software failures to meet the stringent SLA requirements of business critical applications.
Virtualized applications can avail of features such as vSphere HA protects from HW failures by restarting virtual machines on surviving hosts if a physical host were to fail. vSphere FT (Fault Tolerance) protects critical servers such as load balancers and other central servers with a small footprint (1vCPU) with zero downtime in the event of HW failures.
vSphere App HA for Application level protection for supported applications. Third party solutions that leverage vSphere Application Awareness API such as Symantec Application HA , NEVERFAIL, etc. layer on top of VMware HA and provide monitoring and availability for most of the common business critical applications.
Traditional availability clusters like MSCS and Linux based clusters can be layered on top of vSphere HA, but quite often create restrictions relating to vMotion and other functionality in VMware environments. Currently the only use case that these solutions provide not provided by the Application HA solutions available on VMware is the ability to have reduced downtime during patch related activity requiring system reboot. If there is allowance for downtime for patch maintenance using traditional clusters can be avoided.
The ability to proactively manage business critical applications is a very important requirement. Virtualized business critical applications can leverage the vCenter Operations (VCOPS) suites of solutions to effectively manage their environment. VCOPS provides tactical (Right Now) and Strategic (Future Focused) capabilities to monitor performance and manage the capacity of the environment proactively.
VCOPS also provides ability to perform root cause analysis on problems in the environment in a time efficient manner to reduce impact on business critical applications.
Changes made to the environment can be correlated to the health, while also helping to diagnose the impact of the change on an application or environment.
All major x86 applications are supported on VMware and actively being deployed by our customer.
Most application owners and DBAs virtualize Oracle or SAP for cloning. Creating application instances and refresh of data across environments such as production, development, test and QA is very time consuming and resource intensive.
With vSphere, any application can be templatized and easily cloned to be rolled out into these environments with minimal effort. This agility provides application owners improved time to market of their solutions and increased productivity.
One of the critical requirements for business critical applications is the need for disaster recovery with minimum possible downtime (Recovery Time Objective) and minimum loss of data (Recovery Point Objective).
Traditional disaster recovery for business critical applications with physical servers has many limitations such as the need for identical hardware in recovery site and downtime for production during testing. In a virtual environment, every virtual machine is encapsulated in a series of files that can be easily moved and instantiated in the recovery locations.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) provides a strong workflow engine that provides automation through centralized recovery plans, automated failover and failback and planned migration capabilities. SRM provides the ability to perform non-disruptive testing and leverages vSphere and Array based replication to replicate the data to the disaster recovery site.
Majority of the customers virtualizing business critical applications leverage SRM for their Disaster Recovery needs. SRM drastically reduces the RPO and RTO and helps them meet stringent business availability requirements.
The critical concerns of business critical application owners are adequately addressed by VMware’s suite of products and solutions. There is no reason not to virtualize your business critical applications. The trends shown below clearly attest to these capabilities.
Part 1 of series can be found at “Critical Factors to consider when virtualizing Business Critical Applications: (Part 1 of 2)”