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A Happy and Successful New Year to All of You
As 2015 comes to a close, we want to thank our thousands of subscribers for your interest in the Availability Digest. With over 500 articles on continuous availability, high availability, and security written over the last ten years, the Article Archives found on our website at www.availabilitydigest.com provide a rich source of information in availability and security for researchers and students alike. Our articles include case studies, availability topics, best practices, product descriptions, recommended reading, availability theory (our Geek Corner), and Never Again horror stories (perhaps our readers’ favorites).
Best of all, there is a handy search function (thank you, Google) to find all of the articles dealing with a specific topic in which you may be interested. Feel free to use our library of information for your research and study purposes.
If there are particular topics that you would like us to address in the future, let us know. And please contact us if you have a need for a case study or a magazine article to address your own needs. That is what we do best, along, of course, with our seminars on continuous availability or high availability given at your site or online.
Dr. Bill Highleyman, Managing Editor
Most of the citizens of Crimea were without power from November 21 through December 8, 2015. No, it wasn’t a cyberattack. It was sabotage in response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine. Ukrainian activists blew up the four Ukrainian power feeds that provided most of the electrical energy for Crimea, and the saboteurs then continued to prevent repair teams from restoring power.
However, immediately following its annexation of Crimea, the Russians had put in place a disaster recovery plan to link Crimea to Russia and to break Crimea’s dependence on Ukraine. Russia’s plans to make Crimea independent of Ukrainian power via undersea power cables from Russia were almost completed when the sabotage occurred. Russia completed its undersea power feeds quickly so that it could provide Crimea with the power needed.
We talk about building disaster-recovery systems that can continue the processing of critical applications should the production system fail. This was a perfect disaster-recovery plan but one that protected a country rather than a system. Failover from Ukrainian electric power to Russian electric power was seamless and efficient. If the Russians hadn’t been so prepared, the Crimean power outage could have been measured in months rather than in days.
According to a 2013 study by the Ponemon Institute, the leading cause of datacenter outages is battery UPS failures following a power outage. UPS failures account for 24% of all datacenter crashes. Another 7% of outages are caused by generator failures, in which the generator doesn’t start or fails during the power outage. UPS failures and generator failures combined account for almost a third of all datacenter outages.
Generators and UPS systems typically are monitored by extensive monitoring systems. However, most of the data generated by these systems is unused for any actionable purpose. By analyzing this data in real time using predictive analytics, actionable insights can be generated for intervention and maintenance before a failure occurs. This can improve the availability of a data center significantly.
The Ponemon Institute has released its 2013 Cost of Data Center Outages report. It summarizes a survey of 67 data centers that experienced an outage in the past year. The report follows a similar analysis published in 2010. The survey finds that the average cost of a datacenter outage is about USD $690,000, and its average duration is 86 minutes. The outage costs are related linearly to the length of the outage and to the size of the data center.
There was a 41% increase in downtime costs in the 2013 study relative to those found in Ponemon’s 2010 study. This underscores the importance of minimizing the risk of downtime that can potentially cost thousands of dollars per minute.
Those organizations that traditionally have been less dependent on their data centers saw a significant increase in outage costs. The largest increase was in the hospitality sector (129%) followed by the public sector (116%), transportation (108%), and media (104%).
As the demand increases for companies to adapt to a more social, mobile, and cloud-based model, the criticality of minimizing the risk of downtime is greater than ever before.
everRun from Stratus Technologies provides a platform for running virtualized applications in a fault-tolerant or high-availability environment. Stratus’ everRun prevents downtime rather than recovering from downtime and protects against data loss in the process.
everRun is tightly integrated with the open-source KVM hypervisor and runs on two industry-standard x86 host servers. Applications run in virtualized machine (VM) guest operating systems supported by everRun. Each VM has an identical instance running on each host server. The everRun Availability Services synchronize the applications running in each host server via an Availability Link so that if a physical server fails, the applications in the surviving server carry on without interruption or data loss.
Stratus everRun is installed at hundreds of sites supporting mission-critical solutions. Coupled with Stratus’ redundant, hardware-based fault-tolerant ftServer and Stratus’ continuously available OpenStack Cloud Solutions, Stratus Technologies has been a leader for over thirty years in providing high-availability and fault-tolerant solutions for applications that simply cannot fail or lose data.
A challenge every issue for the Availability Digest is to determine which of the many availability topics out there win coveted status as Digest articles. We always regret not focusing our attention on the topics we bypass.
Now with our Twitter presence, we don’t have to feel guilty. This article highlights some of the @availabilitydig tweets that made headlines in recent days.
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© 2015 Sombers Associates, Inc., and W. H. Highleyman