Clusters for High Availability: A Primer of HP-UX Solutions

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9780134947587: Clusters for High Availability: A Primer of HP-UX Solutions

49475-7 UNIX(r) computer systems are increasingly used for mission-critical applications, data processing organizations are required to provide high levels of availability for these systems and to ensure they maintain the required level of availability over time. Among the most reliable, cost-effective ways to deliver high availability is to use clusters-loosely coupled UNIX computers, each with its own processors, memory, operating system and storage, bound together by special system processes. Clusters for High Availability explains the basic concepts, architectures and terminology of high availability using clusters, and gives a broad outline of how Hewlett-Packard's industry-leading cluster solutions work. The book describes how high-availability clusters can be configured to eliminate single points of failure in power systems, disks, processors, network components, and software. The book features coverage of HP high-availability products, including MC/ServiceGuard, MC/LockManager, mirrored disks and disk arrays, journaled file systems, management tools, and consulting services. Finally, Clusters for High Availability presents suggestions for developing high availability solutions in areas as diverse as publishing, mail order catalog sales, brokerage services, and insurance.

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Review:

With an increasing share of the world's economy dependent on computer systems, the importance of making them work without interruption is growing. Clusters for High Availability: A Primer of HP Solutions introduces readers to computer system faults and to techniques for designing systems for maximum reliability and fault tolerance. The book emphasizes Hewlett-Packard's line of High Availability (HA) products, but also explains HA problems and solutions so as to provide value to all readers, regardless of whether they're running HP gear. The explanations begin with pretty basic concepts, so this book has value for engineers designing HA strategies from the ground up.

The best part of the book is the discussion on classes of failure and the hardware and software strategies available for dealing with each. The author points out the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, staying completely clear of explicit instructions, which allows the reader to get them from documentation after he or she has chosen a HA strategy and associated products. The book's conceptual diagrams are fun too: Several diagrams indicate the failure of a data center by superimposing giant flames over a diagram of the center's components! --David Wall

Topics covered: High availability for data centers and other computer systems via component redundancy, careful software design, and especially server clustering. Event Monitoring Services (EMS), ServiceGuard, and High Availability Observatory (HAO) are among the Hewlett-Packard solutions covered, though the author ranges beyond specific products to cover general design practices.

From the Inside Flap:

Preface

Since the initial publication of this book in 1996, the installed base of Hewlett-Packard's high availability (HA) clusters has grown to more than 45,000 licenses sold worldwide. The technology itself has matured, incorporating such diverse features as event monitoring, wide area networks (WANs), storage area networks (SANs), clusters of up to 16 nodes, and on-line configuration of most cluster components. Hundreds of thousands of users are employing ServiceGuard clusters for tasks as diverse as Internet access, telecommunications billing, manufacturing process control, and banking, to mention only a few.

Hewlett-Packard HA clusters are now or soon will be available on mul-tiple platforms, including HP-UX, Linux, and Windows. Today, HP's 5nines:5minutes HA continuum provides products, integrated solutions, and reference architectures that allow users to achieve the highest levels of availability-with as little as five minutes of downtime per year. These efforts show a continuing, ongoing commitment to developing tools and products that approach the vision of 99.999% HA.

The three pillars of Hewlett-Packard's HA computing are robust technology, sound computing processes, and proactive customer support. This guide describes these three aspects of HA solutions in the world of enterprise clusters. It presents basic concepts and terms, then describes the use of cluster technology to provide highly available open systems solutions for the commercial enterprise. Here is an overview of each chapter's topics:

Chapter 1, "Basic High Availability Concepts," presents the language used to describe highly available systems and components, and introduces ways of measuring availability. It also highlights the processes needed to keep systems available.

Chapter 2, "Clustering to Eliminate Single Points of Failure," shows how to identify and eliminate single points of failure by implementing a cluster architecture.

Chapter 3, "High Availability Cluster Components," is an overview of HP's current roster of HA software and hardware offerings.

Chapter 4, "Cluster Monitoring and Management," describes a selection of tools for monitoring, mapping, and managing HA clusters.

Chapter 5, "Disaster-Tolerant High Availability Systems," is an introduction to disaster-tolerant cluster architectures, which extend the geographic range of the HA cluster.

Chapter 6, "Enterprise-Wide High Availability Solutions," describes hardware and software components and processes that provide the highest levels of availability for today's environment of e-business, e-commerce, and e-services, including 5nines:5minutes.

Chapter 7, "Sample High Availability Solutions," discusses a few concrete examples of highly available cluster solutions.

Chapter 8, "Glossary of High Availability Terminology," gives definitions of important words and phrases used to describe HA and HP's HA products and solutions.

Additional information is available in the HP publications Managing MC/ServiceGuard and Configuring OPS Clusters with MC/LockManager. The HP 9000 Servers Configuration Guide and the HP Net Servers Configuration Guide contain detailed information about supported HA configurations. These and other more specialized documents on enterprise clusters are available from your HP representative.

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Weygant, Peter
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