|May 12, 2020||
Case Study: Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Hospital Ensures High Availability in the AWS Cloud with SIOS DataKeeper
Case Study: Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Hospital Ensures High Availability in the AWS Cloud with SIOS DataKeeper
SIOS Chosen for its Ability to Deliver both High Availability and High Performance
|May 9, 2020||
Case Study: AppKeeper Delivers Freedom from 24-hour Monitoring along with Dramatic Cost Reductions
The IT division of a leading digital advertising agency needed an easy, cost-efficient way to provide protect for applications running in AWS EC2 while eliminating alert storms and unnecessary IT tasks. They implemented AppKeeper and minutes and saw an immediate, cost-saving improvement in application availability.
INFOBAHN, a subsidiary of INFOBAHN Group, Inc., is a Tokyo-based digital advertising agency that provides digital branding, advertising, and content management for customer-owned media outlets. The IT division of INFOBAHN Group, Inc., is a small department that provides complete web server management services for media owned by its customers, and for its sister company, Mediagene Inc., owner of leading content media sites such as “Gizmodo Japan,” “cafeglove,” “Life Hacker” (Japanese edition), “BUSINESS INSIDER JAPAN,” “ROOMIE,” and others).
Approximately 80% of INFOBAHN customers who use Amazon Web Services (AWS), rely on a Content Management System (CMS) to deliver the most up-to-date content to their readers. Because INFOBAHN’S customers have high expectations for uptime and strict availability SLAs in place for these CMS tools, they outsource the monitoring and management of the servers they run on to a managed service provider (MSP).
It is very important to INFOBAHN that they met both their own internal and their customers’ and availability service level agreements (SLAs). They were also using an MSP to monitor some of their internal servers while they monitored others, which required closer management, themselves.
“While we could continue to outsource the monitoring of servers for our customers’ systems. This model would not work for our internal servers because it would not scale as the business expanded,” said Yu Amano, IT Division Manager, INFOBAHN Group. INFOBAHN was already spending almost US$1,400 per month for an MSP to monitor their internal servers and their internal team could not manage more servers themselves.
Amano and his colleagues were receiving failure notifications night and day. Every notification required Amano or his colleagues to drop everything, investigate the cause and resolve the issue.
Recognizing that they needed a better solution, Amano considered SIOS Technology’s SIOS AppKeeper availability software for AWS EC2. They tested AppKeeper with their WordPress server, by taking down the Apache service on it and checking the AppKeeper notification emails and fault logs to verify the status and the actions taken by AppKeeper.
“We performed verification tests many times, including stopping a service, and we confirmed that it started as expected. We could see that AppKeeper was reliable. We also found that after a very simple configuration process, it provided automatic monitoring and restoration of service,” said Amano.
SIOS AppKeeper is offered as a software-as-a-service that supports automatic monitoring and restoration of AWS EC2 services and instances. It monitors them via the AWS API and detects and recovers from failures quickly.
AppKeeper restores the application operation automatically by detecting and first restarting application services. This step typically restores services in seconds. If a restart of the service fails it then restarts the entire instance. It issues a failure report that shows any failure occurrences and recoveries based on the relevant information obtained before and after the recovery from the virtual machine services, and AWS.
If customers select the EC2 Auto Scaling functionality, they can easily add more instances for AppKeeper protection. AppKeeper will automatically scale to monitor these new instances in near real-time and, if desired, apply designated settings automatically.
In early March 2017, INFOBAHN started monitoring its internal servers using SIOS AppKeeper. “After submitting our AWS credentials through the online sign- up process, all I had to do was to choose the settings for the steps I wanted AppKeeper to take when it detects a failure. It took 10~15 minutes to configure AppKeeper by just clicking on the screen as described in the online user’s guide,” said Amano.
Amano said that since they started using SIOS AppKeeper there have been no failures that they were unable to automatically recover from. SIOS AppKeeper even helped protect them from human error. “Sometimes other IT members have unintentionally brought the Active Directory server down. I received email notifications from AppKeeper when I was out saying that the service had been restored. Restores were so smooth that I didn’t even notice it until I was told,” Amano laughed.
INFOBAHN is considering expanding its use of AppKeeper to monitor all their internal AWS servers. They are also considering using AppKeeper for customer projects in the future. “If we have SIOS AppKeeper, we can install the necessary CMS such as WordPress and Movable Type on one server with AWS and provide added value that the services recover automatically when they fail,” said Amano.
About SIOS AppKeeper
SIOS AppKeeper software continuously monitors and protects applications in AWS EC2 from service interruptions and downtime while eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming manual intervention.
Learn more at: https://us.sios.com/products/sios-appkeeper/
Sign up for a Free Trial of SIOS AppKeeper
|April 28, 2020||
High Availability and DR for S/4HANA and other SAP platforms
SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software. Over the span of many years, SAP had helped companies of all sizes and in all industries run efficiently and effectively. As a result of their hard work, they have built an ecosystem of enterprises heavily reliant on its platform. 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system.
SAP application touches many critical parts of a company such as its’ ERP, manufacturing, business processes, customer service etc. It has become the lifeline of many enterprises that depends on it for their business to operate properly. As such, high-availability has became one of the top concerns of company managements when it comes to their SAP systems.
In this article, we will discuss at a high-level what is HANA system replication and how it works. What are the limitations when it comes to high-availability, and how we can overcome them. We will also discuss about the options for HANA’s high-availability and the key differences.
To select the right solution to use for HA, ask yourselves at the end of the day
—– How long can SAP be down before you recover?
—– How old can your data be when service is restored
—– How much uptime do you need?
SAP HANA system replication
SAP HANA System Replication is a reliable data protection and disaster recovery solution that provides continuous synchronization of a HANA database to a secondary location either in the same data center, remote site or in the cloud.
System Replication is a standard SAP HANA feature that comes with the software. Using this feature, all data is replicated to the secondary site and data is pre-loaded into memory on the secondary site which helps to reduce the recovery time objective (RTO) significantly. So in case of a failover, the secondary site will be able to take over without even performing a HANA DB (re)start and will work as primary DB instantaneously upon failover. However, the failover has to be triggered manually by the admin using the sr_takeover command. For the replication to be reversed, or failback to primary, separate commands will need to be issued as well.
Below are some key points of the HANA system replication method for HA and DR:
As you can probably deduce from the above points by now, HANA system replication is designed to protect against data loss. Such that when an issue happens with the primary node, an admin can manually run a “sr_takeover” command, so that a problem with the primary system will not take down the entire SAP setup which depends on the HANA database for the prolonged period of downtime. However, a lot of this work has to happen manually and depends on human manual intervention, which although is good enough for DR, it does not make an ideal situation for HA (where downtime needs to be prevented).
SIOS High Availability Clustering
SIOS high availability software for SAP lets you protect SAP S/4HANA in any configuration (or combination) of physical, virtual, cloud (public, private, and hybrid) and high performance flash storage environments. SIOS software provides easy and flexible configuration, fast replication, and comprehensive monitoring and protection of the entire SAP S/4HANA environment.
Specifically for SAP S/4HANA and the HANA database. SIOS can be used to complement what SAP is already doing with the HANA system replication. SIOS adds on to what SAP has to provide true high-availability – automated monitoring of key HANA application processes, and provide automated failover, failback, including virtual IP(s), even if you have multi-instance within a single HANA node.
Below are some key points of the SIOS Protection Suite for SAP HANA HA and DR:
Four steps to install and configure HA for HANA database
We will not discuss the specific steps of how to configure SAP HANA, since there are already many on-line resources that cover those steps. But at a high-level, what you need to do are 4 basic steps:
The installation process flow are similar for other SAP components (ASCS, ERS, PAS, Web Dispatcher etc.) as well.
With the HANA recovery kit included in the SIOS protection suite software, you can basically use a wizard in the SIOS Lifekeeper management GUI, to quickly protect a HANA database instance. You can also assign the virtual IP address for clients to connect to it, and manage the entire stack from it. Build a multi-instance environment and the solution will manage all the instances, virtual IPs etc. within the a fully integrated GUI, which makes it very easy to configure, manage the entire SAP landscape that is on SIOS HA.
Comprehensive HA/DR stack for SAP –
Other than HANA database, SIOS Protection Suite also provides protection for key SAP services and supporting applications, all of which can be managed from the same GUI :
Clustering in the cloud
When moving SAP to the cloud, one of the key challenges is how to protect the SAP database, as well as the SAP applications stack in a SAP supported architecture. SIOS has been forefront of this move and are designed, certified and supported by SAP as well as all the major cloud providers.
The diagram below is a high-level design of how a pair of S/4HANA system can be deployed across different availability zones, or even regions. In cloud environments, as the providers do have very low latencies between AZs, it is entirely possible to use synchronous replication across the AZs, thereby creating a pair of highly available S/4HANA system, not just for HA but also for DR at the same time. This is because AZs are geographically separate datacenters, much like how on-premise DR datacenters are, which highly redundant high-speed network connectivity between them.
Why use SIOS over open-source HA for SAP?
This question will invariably come up in people’s mind, since some Linux vendors already provide their HA extensions (HAE) or clustering, why would anyone want to use a commercial 3rd party HA solution like SIOS?
SAP HANA system replication feature comes as part of the software and works well to protect the database from dataloss in case a problem arise from hardware or system failures. However if high-availability is the requirement, it would still need a 3rd party solution in order to get some of the automated monitoring, failover orchestration, virtual IP and so on. While there are opensource options in the form of enterprise Linux OS subscriptions for SAP, they certainly do not come free, and technical support is still limited as they purely relying on opensource community to maintain the Pacemaker, Corosync etc. projects. and to get support from contributors. There are also limitations in the native System Replication, opensource HAE which can be overcome by a commercial software solution vendor like SIOS.
Hence, SIOS as a reliable 3rd party high-availability solution provider can help to ensure enterprise customers get the reliability and high-availability that they need in their mission critical SAP systems operations. For a peace of mind, SIOS proves to be a very viable complementary solution to SAP HANA system replication, which is also fully supported by SAP and all the major OS and platform vendors.
|April 26, 2020||
Toyo Gosei Ltd. Migrates SAP Enterprise System to Azure: To Build a “System That Never Stops” With Replication
“”We got several proposals for both on-premises and cloud, and decided to migrate to Microsoft Azure with Fujitsu’s proposal of SIOS DataKeeper – that best fits our requirements,” said Akihiko Kobayashi, a System Representative.
Toyo Gosei is a long-established chemical manufacturer that has been operating business for 65 years. The company’s main product, photosensitive materials for photoresist, is an indispensable material for manufacturing liquid crystal displays and semiconductor integrated circuits. The company is also focusing on technological development for the most advanced photosensitive materials.
In 2007, the company was required to select the successor system of GLOVIA/Process C1, which had been used as a core business system. While receiving proposals from several companies, they chose to introduce “SAP,” an ERP system of German company SAP because of its solid J-SOX support. Time passed and around 2015, the servers installed when introducing SAP had come to the end of maintenance.
The company’s IT infrastructure is an on-premises VMware-based data center and a remote data center for business continuity/disaster protection. Since most of their applications run on the Microsoft Windows operating system, they used guest-level Windows Server failover clustering in their VMware environment to provide high availability and disaster protection.
The Challenge – Migrating to Azure
Behind the migration to cloud, there were needs to be free from on-premises system maintenance, demands for flexibility of scale-up and preparing for disaster based on the experience during the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Their decision to go to cloud was driven by the fact that the servers in their premises physically moved during the earthquake and it almost led to a failure.
When migrating to Azure, the company built a backup system to address system failures and in case of disasters. “SAP has all the data necessary for our business. If SAP stops, the production process also stops. If the outage continues for two or three days, shipment, payment and billing is also stopped. The SAP system cannot be stopped,” said Kobayashi.
The first step was to set up a SAP backup system on Azure to take a daily backup of the production system in the East Japan region of Azure and a weekly backup of the standby system in the West Japan region.
“However, backup is just a backup. Basically we need to make production system redundant in order to prevent it from stopping. On AWS, which was used for information systems, shared disks were available with a redundant configuration. However, Azure does not support shared disks. For this reason, we decided to use DataKeeper of SIOS Technology that enables data replication on Azure,” said Kobayashi.
They created a cluster configuration between storage systems connected to the redundant SAP production system and replicate the data using DataKeeper to make it consistent. This provides the same availability as when using shared disks even on Azure where shared disk configuration is not supported.
“We have been in stable operations after the initial stage where a failover occurred,” said Kobayashi. “Regarding SIOS DataKeeper, the only thing we have to do is renew the maintenance contract.”
As a mid-term plan in the future, they need to prepare for the “SAP 2025 problem” where support for the current SAP version will expire. They have not built a specific plan, but Kobayashi said, “when moving to the new architecture S/4HANA and if clustering is required, we will implement SIOS DataKeeper because we trust it.“
SIOS DataKeeper is a reliable partner for Kobayashi. “Because you cannot stop the production system, it is IT personnel’s responsibility to choose a reliable tool,” he said.
|April 22, 2020||
SIOS High Availability Solution And Its Benefits
What SIOS can do for you?
With SIOS, get ready to enjoy high availability cluster protection for 70% less than SQL Enterprise Edition, Oracle Enterprise Edition/ RAC. On top of that, save running costs from not having to migrate to a certain vendors’ cloud platform for extended support.
Rest assured. SIOS is SAP certified for all major Linux and cloud providers, hence you can easily achieve High Availability and Disaster Recovery on VMware without RDM (shared storage). Thereby, allowing snapshot-based backups to succeed.
Best of all, overcome technical limitations of native features from application and database software vendors.
No Configuration Limitations
SIOS is a high availability solution that is suitable for use in any Windows/Linus Application on Physical, Virtual, Public/Virtual Cloud.
Why Sell SIOS HA Solutions
SIOS has been a high availability solutions leader for 20 years, with its strength as a simple add-on to fit any HA environment. Specifically focusing on channel sales, the great margins translate to cost reduction for customers by more than 60% . You will be provided with sales support and given marketing opportunities. Most of all, you can be guaranteed access to a world-class technical support team.
SIOS strives to solve customers’ challenges by providing usable solutions.
Use SIOS Datakeeper with AlwaysOn FCI on SQL standard edition with no need for Enterprise Edition, thereby saving more than 66% of cost. Maintain support even after migrating customers’ old MSSQL 2008 to cloud. SIOS supports multinode cluster (MS limitation), and provides protection for Master System Databases (Master, MSD). Also, it protects other files and applications other than MSSQL
SIOS offers protection for Oracle DB and 75% cost savings with Oracle standard edition. Use SIOS with STD edition and continue to get High Availability even as Oracle ends RAC support for STD edition from v.19c onward. SIOS is less complex than Dataguard and RAC, thereby reducing administrative time and costs. Enjoy the ease and flexibility to run Oracle DB with High Availability on any cloud provider platform. Protect other files and applications not just Oracle DB.
With its easy implementation, application protection wizards, and management via GUI, be sure to save time and cost on your projects. No change from on-premises clustering design and versions used as you migrate to cloud by “life-and-shift”.
As a high availability solution, SIOS promises to offer protection that SAP does not cover. Automatic failure detection and failover orchestration for HANA and Central Services with automatic ERS switchover to opposite node (feature not provided by opensource/HAE). Certified by SAP for any cloud provider and and linux flavor. This includes Oracle Linux with SAP in public cloud providers All SAP customers enjoy commercial-grade replication and tech support.
Achieve High Availability, Data Recovery on VMware without RDM (shared storage). This allows for snapshot backups that is not supported with VMware HA. Additionally, you get to enjoy cost savings since there is no need for single-point-of-failure SAN or SAN-to-SAN replication for High Availability, Data Recovery. Similarly, this ends the need for complex vSphere replication for DR of applications like SQL, SAP, Oracle etc. With SIOS, you’ll easily achieve full application monitoring and automated failover. Furthermore, this feature is not provided by VMware HA, only VM and host failures.
The solution is specifically designed for HA with full stack monitoring (server, VM, application, network, split-brain). Like a hybrid our high availability solution works on-premises with any VM-to-any Cloud.