Since the early 1990’s we have been searching for automated solutions for high availability computer systems. Coming from a manufacturing background, we are keenly aware of the need for application uptime. Whether it be front-end applications or back-end databases it is fundamentally important to have systems that are always there when the business needs them.
Our HA journey started with an evaluation of the original Tidal Wave First Watch product….. a bit before it was ready for prime time. We decided that a manual warm standby failover system would be more robust. As time went on, First Watch became more mature and was resold by the Qualix Group. This package allowed us to utilize the early fiber attached storage arrays from Sun Microsystems to build automatic failover systems that spanned two 500 meter physically separated data centers. Qualix quickly brewed up their own product called HA+ and then acquired technology for what became FullTime Cluster. Legato bought FullTime and produced Automated Availability Manager (AAM). EMC then purchased AAM and upgraded it to what we utilize today – EMC AutoStart along with VMware virtual technologies. These technologies along with switched fibre channel SANs have enabled more than two computers in a cluster to easily see the same virtual disk resource. This, along with true multi-node cluster software, has enabled extremely robust designs that both increase uptime and lower total cost of ownership.