Q

Using VMware as a clustering product instead of Microsoft Cluster Server or Veritas

Is VMware a better option for clustering than Microsoft Cluster Server or Veritas? Ron Oglesby has an opinion in this expert response.

I was reading your response to the question Are high I/O Exchange and SQL servers poor virtualization candidates? and had a question. We are around the idea of using VMware as a clustering product instead of Microsoft Cluster or Veritas. Have you seen much of this in the industry? Do you feel this is a worthwhile pursuit?

Yes it is. Most organizations are realizing that VMware, and specifically HA with ESX 3, is a nice "in between"

solution. Meaning if you have an application that can't have two, three or four hours of downtime, but could sustain five or 10 minutes of downtime, HA might be just as good, with less complexity. Prior to VMware HA, you had to build a cluster using Microsoft Cluster Server or some other product. Of course this came with the added complexity of a cluster, additional operating systems to manage and so on.

With VMware HA, you get a solution for hardware failures that will essentially restart the virtual machine on a new host within a few minutes of the failure. Of course it's not an immediate failure like Microsoft Cluster Server, but it's much less complex than Microsoft Cluster Server if you already have VMware, and itreduces the number of operating systems you need to manage long term.

This was first published in September 2007

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