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Jerry Melnick

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Q & A with Stephanie Balaouras of Forrester on High Availability

On February 24th, we’re going to be doing a webinar featuring Stephanie Balaouras, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research and co-author of the report, X86 Server Virtualization for High Availability and Disaster Recovery. Stephanie was good enough to sit down with us to answer a couple of questions we had before the webinar.

Q: Stephanie, can you give us the 10,000 ft. explanation of why server virtualization is a good alternative for high availability and disaster recovery?

A: In a nutshell, server virtualization facilitates a rapid — or even automatic — restart of applications after an IT failure, and when used in conjunction with data replication between data centers, it can restart applications at a recovery site following a primary site failure. In particular, x86 server virtualization can improve the availability of business-critical systems that are important to the business but not critical enough to warrant the investment in expensive and complex resiliency technologies like fault-tolerant hardware or clustering.

Q: You had mentioned that Forrester is seeing increased customer interest in active-active strategies for high availability. Is that just in Fortune 500 companies or is the interest broader than that?

A: Active-active isn’t just for the largest of companies. Companies of all sizes are under increasing pressure to improve their recovery capabilities but at the same time, they are under pressure to reduce costs and achieve greater operational efficiencies. Companies need an alternate site so they can failover critical business operations in the event of a primary site failure. Given the necessary investment, an alternate data center simply can't remain idle waiting for some disaster to occur. Companies must determine ways to maximize this investment to improve business operations, accelerate growth, or elevate availability.

Q: What’s changed that is driving the greater interest in active active for HA?

A: There are a couple of reasons why there is a growing interest in active-active strategies. First, as I mentioned, most companies are under increasing pressure to improve recovery objectives. In fact, most companies that I speak with have recovery time and recovery point objectives measured in hours, not days. To achieve this type of recovery, today you need to have dedicated infrastructure (servers, storage etc.) at the alternate site.

In the past, many companies might have turned to a DR services provider for their needs. For cost reasons, they subscribe to shared infrastructure services. Because the infrastructure is shared, recovery is limited to recovery of system configurations and data from tape, which means that best case scenario for recovery is 24 hours to 48 hours. As result, many companies are brining DR “back in-house” and making the business case with better recovery objectives and the ability to use the investment in the alternate site for multiple purposes.

Thanks Stephanie, we’ll see you on the 24th. Want to hear more from Stephanie? View her posts on the Forrester Blog for IT Infrastructure & Operations Professionals.

Register here for the webinar featuring Forrester Research.

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Jerry Melnick (jmelnick@us.sios.com) is responsible for defining corporate strategy and operations at SIOS Technology Corp. (www.us.sios.com), maker of SIOS SAN and #SANLess cluster software (www.clustersyourway.com). He more than 25 years of experience in the enterprise and high availability software industries. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Beloit College with graduate work in Computer Engineering and Computer Science at Boston University.