Sun: Preparing for Disaster
- By John K. Waters
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
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,
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.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached