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Business data and applications are some of your most precious company assets, so making sure they are always available is a top mission of any IT organization. Not if, but when you experience system failures, human error, power outages or natural disasters, your businesscritical information will be at risk. It might become inaccessible for extended periods of time or worse, permanently lost. You need solid protection against crippling data loss and application unavailability. SteelEye Technology, a Novell Partner, provides award-winning high-availability clustering, data replication and disaster recovery software products.

> LifeKeeper and SteelEye Data Replication
Businesses can achieve their complete uptime requirements for business-critical applications and data at a fraction of the cost and complexity typically associated with cluster systems. How? By combining industry-standard servers running SUSE Linux with the automated monitoring and recovery of SteelEye LifeKeeper High Availability clustering. The continuous data protection of SteelEye Data Replication and the Wide Area replication and failover of SteelEye Disaster Recovery ensure your business-critical applications are protected.

SteelEye LifeKeeper supports configurations built on commodity servers and storage, and removes the need to make changes to the application environment. By doing this, they provide fault-resilience for the most demanding enterprise deployments at a low cost. LifeKeeper delivers advanced monitoring of servers, networks, operating systems, applications and data. They also provide automated healing capabilities based on policies set by system administrators to ensure that applications and data are always available. LifeKeeper for Linux is ideal in environments that run mission critical database and ERP operations. Today it is protecting Oracle, DB2, MySQL, SAP NetWeaver, Apache, WebSphere MQ and Sendmail in major corporations worldwide. Customers who deploy enterprise applications on SUSE Linux can be confident in the high availability benefits of LifeKeeper for Linux. It works across the spectrum of 32-bit and 64-bit servers and in both physical and virtual server environments.

LifeKeeper supports the widest range of server and storage configurations from simple LAN two-node clusters to clusters across a Fibre Channel SAN to shared-nothing clusters built around data replication. (see figure 1.) LifeKeeper lets you deploy the solution that best meets recovery time objectives and budget requirements today, while allowing for expansion in the future. Because it supports both Linux and Windows and can manage both environments from a single console, LifeKeeper protects the entire IT infrastructure, regardless of platform.

LifeKeeper operates seamlessly across both physical and virtual servers and supports clustering them together in any combination. Physical-to-physical, physical-to-virtual, virtual-to-physical and virtual-to-virtual failovers allow for extreme flexibility in cluster architecture. For example, several virtual machines on a single physical server can act as backup for multiple applications running throughout your organization. Because LifeKeeper supports both SUSE Linux and Microsoft Windows, you can protect applications on both operating systems from a single physical server running multiple VMs. In essence, you can easily build a failover appliance.

Figure 2 shows the main LifeKeeper console. In this cluster, we are running three SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 servers—a, b and c. An Apache Web server and its underlying ext3 file system and data volume are represented as a hierarchy of dependent resources within the left panel. As you can see, the resources are all running on server a and are protected by the two other servers, b and c. The numbers 1, 10 and 20 represent server priorities used by LifeKeeper to determine the order of recovery in a multi-node cluster. Using those node assignments, LifeKeeper will cascade recovery attempts through the nodes until it can bring the failed resource back into service.

The console in Figure 2 also shows us that the data volume holding the ext3 file system is a replicated (or mirrored) volume. The source for this mirror is the server a, where the Web server is active, and the mirror targets are volumes on b and c. This example shows SteelEye Data Replication’s ability to perform one-to-many replication. Data from one volume is replicated simultaneously to two other servers. There are a few scenarios for these two servers. They can be located with the same LAN as the source system; they can both be across a WAN link for off-site data storage; or they can be split across LAN and WAN to provide the optimum data protection. SteelEye Data Replication is unique among all Linux volume-based replication products because of its ability to provide multi-target mirroring.

The panel on the right side of Figure 3 shows a drilldown into the status of the data mirrors. Green status boxes indicate that all mirrors are operating normally. The blue dynamic slide bars show at any point in time how much data is still to be synchronized among the servers. In this instance, note that both mirrors are fully in sync.

By using a JAVA-based interface, LifeKeeper’s console can be run as an application on one of the cluster members, as an application on a separate server or as an applet within a Web browser. The console can also run on either Windows or Linux, and from the single console, you can manage servers running both. One of LifeKeeper’s key advantages is its cross-platform ability. IT shops running both Linux and Windows can use a single clustering and data replication solution for all of their business critical functions.

SteelEye LifeKeeper HA Clustering, Data Replication and Disaster Recovery provide a number of technical benefits to administrators building solutions to ensure availability of critical applications and data.

SteelEye LifeKeeper HA Clustering, Data Replication and Disaster Recovery provide a number of technical benefits to administrators building solutions to ensure availability of critical applications and data.

Among these are the following:

  • It supports a wide range of data storage configurations including direct-attached SCSI, Fiber Channel SAN, iSCSI, NAS and replicated volumes.
  • It can cluster together physical and virtual servers. P2P, P2V, V2P and V2V failovers are supported.
  • It supports up to 32 nodes within a single cluster.
  • Both Linux and Windows clusters can be managed from a single console.
  • It supports both Active/Active and Active/Stand-by configurations. All systems in a cluster can be actively running their own jobs.
  • Faults are detected at both a node and individual service level. Optimized detection results in quicker problem discovery and resolution.
  • Recovery can occur both within the same node and across nodes to perform cascading recovery.
  • Clients reconnect transparently following application movement, even across subnets.
  • Because application movement can occur automatically or be manually invoked from the console, protection is provided against both planned and unplanned outages. Maintenance windows are a thing of the past.
  • Off-the-shelf protection for common business functions via SteelEye Application Recovery Kits are available for the following (in alphabetical order):
    • “md” Software RAID
    • Apache
    • DB2 UDB
    • Informix
    • LAMP
    • LVM/LVM2
    • MS Exchange
    • MS IIS
    • MS SQL Server
    • MySQL
    • NFS
    • Oracle
    • PostgreSQL
    • Rational ClearCase
    • Samba
    • SAP Netweaver
    • Sendmail
    • Sybase
    • VMware Console
    • VMware VirtualCenter
    • WebSphere MQ
  • Other applications are easily protected via LifeKeeper Extender. Writing a few scripts in Perl or Bash allows you to hook your application into the LifeKeeper protection harness and get the benefits of automated monitoring and recovery.
  • Data replication can occur in a one-to-many configuration. Multiple copies of business-critical data, perhaps spread across disparate data centers, provide increased levels of availability and assurances against data loss and corruption.

Companies of all sizes around the world are today using this combination to ensure the success of their IT infrastructure.


Combining SUSE Linux with SteelEye’s portfolio of data and application protection products, IT administrators can achieve complete protection for their critical business assets without the expense and complexity typically associated with server clusters. Companies of all sizes around the world are today using this combination to ensure the success of their IT infrastructure.

> About SteelEye
SteelEye is a leading provider of enterprise IT-reliability solutions for business continuity on Linux and Windows 2000/2003. The SteelEye LifeKeeper family of high availability clustering, data protection and disaster recovery software products are easy to deploy and operate. With these tools, enterprises of all sizes can have continuous availability of business-critical applications, servers and data. For more information, go to or phone 866.318.0108.


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