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VMblog Expert Interview: SIOS Adds Enhanced Support for High Availability in Google Cloud Platform and SAP S/4HANA Environments

interview sios cooley 

Yesterday, SIOS announced the latest release of its SIOS Protection Suite for Linux and SIOS Protection Suite for Windows.  To learn more, VMblog spoke with Adrienne Cooley, Senior Product Owner at SIOS Technology Corp. 

VMblog:  What are the top concerns business have about maintaining application availability in SAP S/4 HANA environments?

Adrienne Cooley:  For many companies, multiple critical business operations depend on SAP S/4 HANA systems. For these companies, even a few minutes of downtime can be costly and disruptive to their core business. They need to ensure these systems are always available and operational. However, protecting these complex system from downtime and disasters requires more than public cloud service level agreements cover. They also require application-specific protection of the application and database, and all of the services that support them as well as the storage, OS.

VMblog:  What are some of the factors that make ensuring HA protection in SAP S/4HANA environments so challenging?

Cooley:  In most cases, companies want to create a high availability clustering environment to protect SAP S/4 HANA. In an HA cluster, the critical application, service, or database is run on a primary server and, in the event of a failure or disaster, the application operation is moved to a remote server automatically by the clustering software.  The challenges for SAP S/4HANA environments include:
  • Ensuring the clustering software is monitoring the operation of the entire stack - network, storage, OS, application, services, server, etc.
  • Ensuring the clustering software is application-aware. That is, that in the event of a downtime issue, the software maintain SAP-specific best practices as it orchestrates the failover process to the remote server. In complex SAP environment, this may include executing specific boot order and ensuring specific location of individual SAP services.
  • Ensuring the clustering software is easy to maintain and test. Companies need to perform routine switchover of operations between cluster nodes to test and ensure that, in the event of downtime or disaster their systems will continue to operate as expected.

VMblog:  What makes SIOS Protection Suite for Linux clustering different than other approaches to HA?

Cooley:  SIOS Protection Suite for Linux includes SIOS Application Recovery kits - which provide application-specific functionality and awareness. They automate the cluster configuration process and validate user input to ensure configuration accuracy. They also orchestrate failover in accordance with SAP best practices to ensure that failovers are fast and reliable and operation will continue as expected - without disruption to business operations.

VMblog:  What challenges does the public cloud present to High Availability in particular?

Cooley:  First, IT teams moving critical applications to the cloud sometimes think that cloud SLAs are sufficient protection from downtime. However, these SLAs only cover the hardware infrastructure provided by the cloud. There are many threat to application availability that are not covered. Second, customers who are migrating an on-premises clustering environment to the cloud face the challenge of providing shared storage for the cluster nodes in the cloud. shared storage is a requirement for traditional clustering that is problematic in some clouds and not available at all in others. For this reason, companies want a SANless clustering environment in the cloud. Third, cluster failover requires careful IP management to ensure smooth failover and continuous operation. Since each cloud has its own IT management requirements that the clustering solution needs to accommodate. SIOS products are specifically designed to eliminate all three of these challenges to HA in the cloud.

VMblog:  Google Cloud Platform support has been strengthened in this release.  What new capabilities have been added?

Cooley:  The latest version of SIOS Protection Suite for Linux includes an Internal Load Balancer tool designed to orchestrate efficient IP management during switchovers and failovers. This new capability further ensures even complex environments failover efficiently and reliably. In addition, by making the process of switching over from one cluster node to another fast and reliable, companies are able to perform maintenance and testing more easily and without disruption to business processes.

VMblog:  Beyond enhanced Google Cloud Platform support, what is new in version 9.5.2 that customers will benefit from the most?

Cooley:  First, we've added new capabilities that facilitate the use of IT automation tools, such as Ansible with SIOS LifeKeeper for Linux. To accomplish this, we've made all functions of our control module available through automation-tool friendly command line interface (CLI) format.

Second, the newest version of SIOS LifeKeeper for Linux also supports a function in SAP HANA called "Takeover with Handshake" that allows companies to perform scheduled maintenance without the potentially time-consuming process of shutting down the primary HANA server database. With it, customers can quickly and easily switchover between cluster nodes to perform maintenance without downtime or disruption to end users.

Third, we've enhanced our logs and messages to make their meaning clearer and easier to act on. This feature ensures customers are not only notified of potential threats to application uptime, but are able to take fast, specific action to eliminate the threat.

VMblog:  SIOS also enhanced its SIOS Protection Suite for Windows.  Can you explain what features customers are most excited about in version 8.8 of this release?

Cooley:  Version 8.8.0 of SIOS Protection Suite for Windows includes a new application recovery kits (ARKs) designed to enhance disaster recovery protection by enabling cluster failover across availability zones.  This version also includes enhanced support for Microsoft Azure Cloud Internal Load Balancer for fast, reliable cluster failovers.

VMblog:  What are the components of the SIOS Protection Suite for Linux and for Windows?

Cooley:  SIOS Protection Suite for Linux and SIOS Protection Suite for Windows both contain comprehensive monitoring, failover orchestration, and replication capabilities as well as application-aware technology. Specific components of the suite are:

  • SIOS LifeKeeper - Flexible failover clustering software that monitors the entire application stack and orchestrates application-aware failover.
  • SIOS DataKeeper - Fast, efficient host-based, block level data replication for mirroring local storage in a SANless cluster configuration or replicating to remote locations or cloud for disaster recovery.
  • Application Recovery Kits (ARKs) - Extensions to SIOS LifeKeeper that integrate with applications to provide intelligent methods for simplifying setup, automating manual tasks and handling diverse application recovery events. They detect application level failures and ensure applications-specific best practices are maintained throughout the failover process.
VMblog:  Where can readers learn more about the SIOS Protection Suites?

Cooley:  Go to our website at:

https://us.sios.com/products/sios-protection-suite-linux/

https://us.sios.com/products/sios-protection-suite-windows/

##

Adrienne Cooley is Senior Product Owner at SIOS Technology Corp. where she is responsible for assigning, prioritizing, and evaluating product development. Adrienne has more than 20 years of experience in the software industry, including 13 years at Avtec, Inc. where she served as senior quality assurance engineer, product owner, and product marketing manager. A graduate of University of South Carolina, Adrienne holds a BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Published Thursday, August 12, 2021 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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