Through the wormhole with Stretched Clusters

Last year, EMC announced a new virtualization product called VPLEX. VPLEX allows logical storage volumes to be accessible from multiple locations. It boldly goes beyond existing storage virtualisation solutions (including those from EMC) in that it is not just a storage virtualisation cluster – but merely a storage federation platform, allowing one virtualized storage volume to be dynamically accessible from multiple locations, as if they were connected through a wormhole, and being built from one or more physical storage volumes.

Wormhole in space
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Extreme availability with Oracle stretched clusters

Some of my customers have been pushing for more availability in their Oracle database applications. They want to eliminate downtime completely even if they experience a site failure. Whether this is a real business requirement or a technology push, I’m not sure – I guess a bit of both.

ha_aircraft

Most of these customers have already implemented Oracle RAC (Real Application Clusters), which provides them active/active server clustering for Oracle. If one of the servers in a RAC cluster fails, the others just keep running – no restart or recovery involved. This is a High Availability option typically for local sites.

For Disaster Recovery, most customers have some sort of storage replication (i.e. EMC SRDF/Synchronous or SRDF/Async, or they use Oracle Data Guard for this which replicates data on the Oracle database level). This protects against site failures and offers zero or near-zero dataloss (for committed transactions in Oracle – the non-committed transactions are rolled back during the restart – and this is exactly one of the problems by the way).
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