cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Create Post

Guest blog: Failover thoughts (A post from our Chief Architect)

Level 17

Hi, I’m Joel Dolisy, chief architect for SolarWinds; over the next few months I’ll try to provide insight of what’s happening in the engineering side of the house.

 

As Josh mentioned a few weeks ago I’m researching the types of failover scenarios we need to support in Orion, and how those relate to the existing hot-standby polling engine strategy. As usual, the complexity of the solution depends on the level of failover support that the product needs to operate under. Claiming that a solution is fail safe is actually a complicated problem to solve and involves the interaction of different players such as the OS, the hardware (computer and network infrastructure), the storage subsystem and the application.

As part of the research, I’m considering if leveraging the built-in clustering services offered by the OS (such as Windows Server 2003) would be something that would be acceptable for our customers. Leveraging those services has lots of advantages from an engineering standpoint as we can concentrate on building features that are actually useful for you instead of having to write more plumbing, but on the other side such a solution comes with its own set of constraints. Every time I encounter additional constraints I always have to weigh the benefits of the proposed solution against its additional configuration burden.
One of the big assets of our products is their simplicity of installation/configuration and that they don’t require days of planning before a rollout like a lot of our larger competitors. Every time something has the potential of disturbing this ease of use/configuration I need to make sure that I understand under which circumstances those additional configuration steps will impact our customers.
I feel that customers asking for failover capabilities are ready to take additional configuration steps required by such configurations, in fact, most of those users will already have SQL Server clustered and requiring the OS clustering service in this case should not be an issue.

At this point I would really like to hear from you what your thoughts/comments/requirements/experience on failover scenario are and how do you expect us to support them.

 

-Joel

5 Comments
Level 15

Interesting.

It's amazing how this takes me back so many years, when our SA's thought Microsoft could provide a reliable dual-NIC HA solution, or how they believed that LACP was the be all and end all. 

Now, with UCS and VM and port-channels to those technologies, life's become so much less unpredictable.

Thanks for keeping these old posts--there's much to be learned from the past.  Keeps us from re-inventing the wheel when we remember that those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.  ;^)

MVP
MVP

in some shops VM appliances won't go over well...

Agreed--VM is NOT the panacea some folks may wish for.  Depending on hardware budget and application design/compatibility, I've seen application performance take a big nose dive when moved to VM.  And some suites of applications, depending on how busy and demanding they may be, have VM specs that require dedicating an entire host to one Application.  Perhaps that might be OK if you've money to spare and hardware slots to devote to dedicated VM blades, but we try to be good stewards of the budget.  If there are specific apps that aren't compatible with VM, or that require more resources (RAM and CPU) than are available in a VM environment, stand alone servers won't all be moved into VM.  Thus showing the fallacy in server manufacturers' advertisements showing entire data centers being compressed down into one server.

Remember this one?   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmxPfZtV6w0

Of course, none of us would put all our eggs into just one basket . . .

MVP
MVP

It's not just that...you may not be able to patch the OS of a VM appliance which then opens up whole in your overall security strategy and findings from audit.

About the Author
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge. I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me. I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby D"ck , and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have been addicted to Thwack for years now.