How to Achieve High Availability with System Management in Five Simple Steps

High Availability / Disaster Recovery
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An approach to meeting the demands of a 24/7 availability environment and reducing the risk of downtime events.


Editor's Note: This article is an extract of the white paper "How to Achieve High Availability with System Management in Five Simple Steps" available free from the MC White Paper Center.


A hard-working System i environment is never more visible (or expensive) to an organization than when it becomes unavailable. The expectation is for optimal performance on a 24/7 basis, and beyond that, any system issues should be the remit of the IT manager—not seen, not heard, and most definitely not felt by the user community. Sadly, the realities of system availability can fall short of these exacting standards—whether the systems are truly available or not. This is because the definition of high availability means dif­ferent things to different groups within an organization.


Some may say that unless a system fails, it is, technically speaking, still available. In the real world, however, these technical definitions will be of little persuasion to the user who is unable to access an application because a TCP port has stopped listening or others who are experiencing poor response times due to the "lack of availability." Similarly, when a system performs below agreed SLA standards but does not necessar­ily fail altogether, then the financial penalties will resonate louder than any justification. Creating a high availability environment must account for all definitions and perceptions. In short, when it comes to high availability, the system must be all things to all people at all times.



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Identify Threats to Availability

Identifying the threats to availability will require both a historical knowledge of past events—for example, those leading to a specific downtime incidence—and also an examination of the lines of dependence that stretch from the user group back to the system. In some cases, these can also include dedicated high availability (HA) solu­tions or other resources used for disaster recovery. Analysis of all these links between the system and the people who rely on it can help to determine potential areas of vulnerability where adverse conditions could not only impact availability, but also create serious secondary issues on the system.


Applications, jobs, subsystems, and communication elements can all give rise to potential availability issues, and as such, these key areas should be identified and monitored in real time for abnormal status or performance conditions. The chart below looks at how some of these system elements could transform into availability issues and what their impact could mean for the organization experiencing them.


Want to learn more? Download the complete white paper "How to Achieve High Availability with System Management in Five Simple Steps" from the MC White Paper Center.

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