Companies that rely on online transactions cannot afford server breakdowns, which is why they seek ways to ensure their data remains safe even if the server fails. One method they utilize is failover clustering. Failover clustering is a technology that operates on a group of computer servers to provide high availability or continuous availability for server applications. This means that if one server fails, another one will take over the workload seamlessly. Many major server programs, such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server, rely on failover clustering for protection.
Failover clustering can be implemented using physical servers or virtual machines, depending on the specific requirements of the server application. A cluster consists of two or more nodes that exchange data and software through physical cables or a secure network. Clustering technology can be used for load balancing, storage, and concurrent or parallel computing.
Failover clusters are designed to provide continuous availability or high availability for applications and services. Continuous availability clusters allow end-users to continue using applications and services even if a server fails, with minimal interruption. High availability clusters may cause a brief interruption in service, but the system can recover quickly without data loss.
Failover clustering is important because it allows companies to repair inactive nodes without shutting down their databases, avoiding downtime concerns. It also automates data recovery in the event of a failure, reducing reliance on IT staff and enabling quick server recovery. Failover clustering ensures excellent SQL cluster availability with minimal downtime, preserving the function of the database even in the event of hardware breakdown.
Failover clustering works through two fundamental processes: high availability and continuous availability. High availability clusters aim for 99.999% availability, while continuous availability clusters strive for 100% availability. High availability clusters consist of independent computers that share resources and data, with at least one active node and one passive node. Continuous availability clusters involve multiple computers that share a single copy of a computer’s operating system, providing redundancy and fault tolerance.
Failover clustering offers scalability, stability, and real-time monitoring. It allows organizations to easily scale by adding new clusters as needed and ensures service continuity even if some clusters fail. Cluster shared volume (CSV) provides a consistent and distributed namespace for nodes to work with shared storage, enabling uninterrupted server application performance.
There are different types of failover clusters, including VMware failover clusters, Windows server failover clusters (WSFC), SQL server clusters, and Red Hat Linux clusters. Each cluster solution caters to specific operating systems and offers unique features and benefits.
In conclusion, failover clustering is a crucial technology for companies that need online transactions. It ensures high availability and continuous availability for server applications, allowing businesses to minimize downtime and protect their data in the event of server failures.