Sun: Preparing for Disaster

Disaster recovery planning is on just about every company's to-do list these days. Prompted a few years ago by 9/11, spurred by new regulatory requirements and amped up by images of hurricane-ravaged coastal communities on the 11:00 news, a lot of organizations have implemented disaster planning and assessment projects. But planning for trouble is one thing, says Jim Sangster, director of marketing for Sun Microsystems' Cluster and N1 products, putting those plans into action is another.

"After 9/11, a lot of companies were doing disaster planning and assessment," he says. "But they found that doing something about it could be expensive and daunting."

The latest version of Sun's Java Availability Suite, part of the Java Enterprise System (JES) portfolio, comes with new disaster-recovery capabilities that might turn plans into action. Unveiled last week, the new Sun Cluster Geographic Edition is designed for geographically dispersed server clusters that communicate via TCP/IP or FC connections.

The JES is Sun’s open, standards-based software system designed to provide a core set of shared enterprise network services as a single, integrated entity. It serves as the strategic underpinning of Sun's overall software strategy.

The Geographic Edition adds remote cluster-health monitoring tools on top of the company’s Sun Cluster product. The GE add-on is designed to allow managers to perform one-click takeover (for disaster recovery) or switchover (for planned maintenance) to a remote site. Multiple primary sites can be served by a single backup site, and both active/active and active/passive cluster configurations are possible. Data replication between clusters is facilitated through the vendor's Sun StorEdge Availability Suite (host-based replication) or Sun StorEdge TrueCopy for storage-based replication.

Sun has offered a Sun Cluster product for more than a decade. As part of the Availability Suite within the JES, Sun Cluster 3 software is limited to campus- and metro-level clustering. The Geographic Edition component adds a layer of abstraction, tying together multiple Sun clusters across unlimited distances, Sangster says.

Although disaster recovery is a focus of the Geographic edition, some Sun customers will use it for "massive infrastructure changes," Sangster says. "They use it for major changes," he says, "when they’re doing something like diesel-generator infrastructure changes, or power-grid changes—massive stuff, as opposed to upgrading a server."

The Sun Java Availability Suite includes the Sun Cluster software, the new Geographic Edition, Sun Cluster agents for more than 50 applications, and Sun's JavaStudio Enterprise, JavaStudio Creator and Sun Studio dev tools.

The Java Availability Suite is priced at $50 per employee per year. For more information, go to Sun.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].