Smart Availability enables a workload to always be run from the best execution environment. Smart Availability uses the central idea of high availability (dedicated resources between systems preventing downtime) and develops it into the maximizing of a competitive advantage. Smart Availability allows clients and staff to shift workloads between servers, operating systems, and virtual and physical systems with a minimum of downtime. This is accomplished by disengaging an arrangement of system components (containers, services, application workloads, and shared files) without the standardization process that is normally used for a single operating system or database. Workloads are transferred to the environment that works the best.
According to Don Boxley, the Founder and CEO of DH2i, Smart Availability helps provide businesses with enterprise applications that move freely and transparently in virtual, bare-metal, and Cloud environments, with near-zero downtime. This allows clients to spend less money, less time, and fewer resources on maintenance. Such intelligent software allows organizations to cut costs and reduce downtime, and ease the complexity of installing Windows and Linux applications. Clients can put more of their time and energy into innovation and growing their business.
Smart Availability “makes it really easy to just spin things up in the Cloud,” said Boxley.
“Rather than worrying, the client simply tells us what the server is, and we’ll manage the connection points. All the client needs to do, is decide which data they want, and where.”
Such ease-of-use simplifies management and protection against both planned and unplanned downtime, decreases complexity, and according to OJ Ngo, co-founder and CTO of DH2i, “ensures that workloads only come online at their best execution venue (BEV).”
Image Credit: DH2i
Smart Availability, Disaster Recovery, and Data Containers
DH2i has developed a system called DxEnterprise that offers a number of features, including disaster recovery and Smart Availability. Smart Availability describes the behavior of a system designed to ensure a superior level of operational performance, typically focused on uptime (or a lack of downtime). Comprehensive disaster recovery is typically expensive, and implementation can be very complex. However, DxEnterprise makes it easy to provide cost-effective disaster recovery for applications, such SQL Server and Cloud-native applications. Plus, the system is easy to implement.
Containers provide a fast, efficient, and easily deployed way to implement infrastructure requirements. They also offer an alternative to the use of virtual machines.
DxEnterprise can come with an optional Docker Container Management Solution Pack, which contains add-ons to support Docker containers. The Vhost technology manages Docker containers using its “Smart Availability” framework. Boxley, Jr. stated, “DxEnterprise represents the first and only enterprise-class container management solution for stateful Windows-based applications and workloads.”
DxEnterprise uses a lightweight virtual host (Vhost) to separate containers and enterprise applications from the underlying infrastructure, said Boxley. This provides portability for the workload to any host, from any host. By using a stop and restart process, this can be done with any combination of supported operating systems and application versions/editions.
Each Vhost is made up of a computer name, Vhost management metadata, optional portable data volumes, and an associated IP address. Metadata within the Vhost directs the management of workloads and containers and coordinates the managed application’s launch. By sharing a single Windows Server or Linux Server operating system instance, DxEnterprise containers are stacked on physical (or virtual) servers.
DxEnterprise provides an advanced management system that enriches the base Vhost technology. This system includes automation and orchestration, offers significantly higher efficiency, and provides a self-healing environment that reduces risk. The system’s features include:
- Failover and Dependency Coordination: Failover is the protection of computer systems from failure, by having backup equipment take over automatically when the primary system fails. If an outage occurs, the Vhost restarts using one of several potential failover backups, having access to the shared data. Additional dependencies or services can be managed and added to the workflow of a failover for full service HA.
- Self-Healing: Provides defenses against operating system, infrastructure, and application faults, and should a fault occur, automated action will restart and “self-heal” the workloads among the remaining active nodes. The software also monitors and assures application performance using quality of service controls and automation.
- Resource Management and Alerts: Deals with resource issues, both between and within managed workloads. Should a managed application encounter inadequate resources, the DxEnterprise software can automatically shift the lowest priority workloads, correcting the resource shortfall. The software also issues alerts if workloads fail to meet performance thresholds.
- Automation and Inserted Logic: Automates the dependency coordination of Vhosted workloads. Vhosted workloads offer a variety of insertion points for workflow, using conditional logic coordination and event handling. Vhosted applications with dependencies use “policies” to control and manage an entire workflow or service needing to be made “highly available.”
- Consolidation: Vhost technology allows organizations to stack multiple workloads in a single physical (or virtual) machine, without the need for server virtualization—though virtualization is supported.
According to Boxley, “InstanceMobility utilizes an extremely agile, lightweight abstraction technology that intelligently decouples Linux and Windows instances, as well as Docker containers.” It uses Vhost technology, allowing the instance to process through the local operating system with the local application installed. With native (NTFS/ext4/xfs) disks assigned to the Vhost, logs and data are presented with consistency, wherever and whenever the Vhost is active. InstanceMobility works with:
- Complete data tier portability and management
- Any host to any host, from anywhere
- Multi-platform support
- Near-weightless encapsulation
- Multi-subnet/geo clusters
Smart Availability and the Cloud
Businesses are choosing to move their enterprise applications to the Cloud in an effort to gain a competitive edge, become more efficient, and gain disaster protection. Unfortunately, the increasing costs of licensing requirements (particularly concerning mobility) have altered the situation. Cloud usage now costs more and provides less flexibility. DxEnterprise brings back the Cloud’s advantages, and provides the same protection as on-premises systems.
It is compatible with Amazon Web Services (AWS), and most other Cloud services. The agility offered by the Vhost technology provides cost-efficient deployments for both Cloud metering and licensing. DxEnterprise provides complete mobility for an application (and its dependent data).
DR nodes can be constantly awake, but not active. This provides full disaster recovery protection for substantially lower prices than normal in a virtualized Cloud environment. A variety of storage node protection mechanisms are available, offering a choice of the best risk-mitigation protection for different systems. Boxley commented:
“Our customers tend to be pretty conservative, and many are just now starting to explore the Cloud. They want to explore developing Business Information and Analytics capabilities in the cloud. They want to be able to easily move resources between Clouds, from Azure to AWS, or anywhere.”
The evolution of Smart Availability, which combines the primary components of high availability, ease of data movement, and disaster recovery, now allows organizations to do just that and so much more.
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