Friday May 02, 2008

Solaris Cluster, Sun Cluster Geographic Edition and Virtualization: The Art of the Possible

Virtualization is a hot topic right now. You only need look at what Sun is doing with our CoolThreads servers, our storage, our software, our Open High Availability Cluster (OHAC) HA-xVM and HA Container agent development work ... deep breath ... and our OEM agreements and I think you'll agree - it's everywhere. Consequently, it's generating lots of questions on our external cluster forum and resulting in several posts to the Solaris Cluster blog, including this one.

So does virtualization mean that the need for clustering goes away? Far from it! Now that you've consolidated your multiple, independent servers into a single virtualized platform, you've effectively put more of your 'eggs' in a single basket. If the services are mission or business critical, you are still going to need to protect them. And how are you going to do that? Solaris Cluster, of course. Oh, and what about disaster recovery? Critical services need protection against fire, flood, natural disasters. That's where Sun Cluster Geographic Edition comes in. Is your head hurting yet?

As with any rapidly evolving technology, it's important to understand the ramifications of what you are doing, as well as be able to navigate the what-works-with-what matrix. Failure in either department could result in an unsupported configuration or an implementation that doesn't achieve the levels of service you would expect.

When I first suggested to my colleagues that I would author something on this topic, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I can usually talk to one expert, or consult one document and get all the information I need. But as you'll have realised from the preamble, the combination of virtualization and clustering spans many boundaries. So, I am indebted to the many colleagues who provided information and reviews for the Blueprint that resulted from my rash suggestion.

I hope you find "Using Solaris Cluster and Sun Cluster Geographic Edition with Virtualization Technologies" saves you a lot of head scratching when your colleague, manager, or professor asks you, "And how do Solaris Cluster and virtualization technologies work together?".

Enjoy. 

Tim

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