The good folks at Stratus Technologies let me know that they've enhanced their Avance technology and released Avance 2.1.
Typically organizations seeking to use clustering to create a highly available environment requires quite a bit of planning, at least two computers, redundant storage systems, redundant networks, a complicated software installation and, quite often, changes to the organization's software. This, of course, is often beyond the abilities of smaller organizations and, on occasion, the software VAR or OEM that is serving them.
Stratus, one of the originators of the continuous computing concept years ago, has been offering a software-based solution that makes disaster avoidance fairly easy for a number of years. Version 2.1 takes the capabilities of Avance quite a bit further.
The new release offers the following improvements:
- Default “call home” service automatically connects Avance users with Stratus’ 24x7 technical support center. Stratus IT monitors Avance servers remotely and notifies users of potential problems before an outage can occur. This makes it easier for smaller companies to work with a highly available environment.
- Automatic compatibility scans ease installation by ensuring servers have the resources needed to run Avance. The system alerts users if the installation can’t be completed. This makes installation of Avance very easy for IT staff who aren't experts in clustering and availability.
- Virtual CD re-installation allows users to re-install Avance from a desktop file that emulates a CD, eliminating the step of loading the CDs
- 10GB storage link synchronization results in improved storage performance especially during heavy storage write for replication between the physical machines
- Simplified management interface with dialog boxes, radio buttons and progress bars to help small IT groups monitor Avance’s operation
- Customizable management screens that enable IT to rename and annotate network objects for easier navigation; and
- Automatic network settings checking that alerts IT when a changed setting might cause repeated simple network management protocol (SNMP) notifications.
I've written about Avance in the past (see Stratus Avance 1.5 - A Simple, but Powerful, Way to HA/DR for SMB for more information) and think that it addresses a number if technical issues making availability and disaster planning and implementation troublesome for smaller organizations. If your organization knows that it needs its IT infrastructure to be "always available," I would recommend that you see a demo of this software.