High Availability Cluster Servers

High Availability Cluster Servers

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Clustered solutions that are built with industry standard commodity based components

Dell's vision is to work closely with our development partners to provide 100% perceived availability to the application environment.

Dell HA Clusters are backed by Key Certifications and Support:
  • Dell's Cluster configurations have been certified and approved by both Dell and Microsoft.
  • Certified technicians or systems engineers can perform the cluster installation.
  • Dell offers a wide selection of service and support for mission-critical and business-critical customer environments.

The Value of Microsoft Cluster Server

Line-of-business applications are applications that are central to a company's operations. They include systems such as databases, messaging servers, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, and core file and print services. Clustering helps ensure that these critical applications are online when needed by removing the physical server as a single point-of-failure.

In the event that a hardware or software failure occurs in either node, the applications currently running on that node (and you may run more than one), are then migrated by the Cluster Service to the surviving node and re-started.

The ability to bring an application back into service quickly can help save companies revenue, maintain productivity, maintain customer satisfaction, and ensure timely access to data for critical decision points. Over the past few years, as computers and application continue to evolve, the dependency on the availability of these application environments have become more critical to the needs of the business. With the ability to deploy low cost high availability solutions, as opposed to proprietary solutions, additional applications and distributed computing infrastructures are enabling HA solutions.

The potential benefits of deploying either Windows®  2003 Enterprise Edition or Windows 2000 Advanced Server operating system with Cluster Service include:
  • Reducing unplanned downtime : Downtime caused by hardware or software failures can result in lost revenue, inefficient IT staff utilization, and unhappy customers. Using MSCS with an external storage solution on critical line-of-business applications can significantly reduce the amount of application downtime caused by unexpected failures.
  • Smoothly deploying upgrades : MSCS is ideally suited for planned downtime. By migrating your applications to the remaining nodes, upgrading the first node, and then migrating them back, you can roll out hardware, software, and even operating system upgrades without taking the application offline.
  • Deploying in unattended and distributed locations : MSCS is ideally suited for remote environments that do not have personnel trained for supporting the computing infrastructures. By deploying MSCS at these locations, total cost of ownership can be reduced by supporting these satellite locations remotely. Typically, these remote sites are difficult to get to and the repair time for a down system is higher. By deploying cluster service downtime can be minimized along with the associated consequences.
  • Deploying applications on industry-standard hardware : Keep costs down by deploying MSCS on standard computer server and storage hardware, avoiding costly and often proprietary alternative high-availability solutions.

Microsoft®  High Availability Clusters

MSCS is designed to provide high availability of data and applications through it's "failover" model. It is available as part of Microsoft Windows®  Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, and Windows®  2000 Advanced Server. Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition supports 2-8 node failover SCSI clusters. Windows 2000 Advanced Server supports 2-node failover SCSI and Fibre Channel clusters. If an application or resource fails on one node, that node will attempt to restart the application or resource. If the application or resource exceeds a failure threshold, the cluster will attempt to restart the application or resource on another node. Failover can occur as quickly as in a few seconds, depending on the type of resource.

High Availability Clusters are sometimes referred to as "fail-over clusters." These clusters benefit applications like databases, groupware, ERP, CRM, file servers, print servers, and basic web servers by providing the ability for that application to be restarted on one of multiple servers. If the server running the application fails, another designated server assumes responsibility for those applications.


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