A debate over what is the best way to assure high availability of Microsoft SQL Server databases on the Microsoft Azure cloud has emerged. Historically, Microsoft has encouraged IT teams to employ separate Linux Pacemaker clusters for SQL Server databases to ensure high availability. That approach, however, requires IT teams to configure, maintain, and connect a separate set of clusters to make sure their databases are always available.
DH2i is making a case for an approach that ensures high availability of instances of Microsoft SQL running on Linux without requiring IT teams to set up a separate set of clusters. Version 20 of the DxEnterprise software from DH2i makes it possible to ensure database resiliency within an Azure Availability Zone or across multiple availability zones and regions. DxEnterprise, in addition to maintaining data integrity as data continuously moves between availability zones, also automatically scales the number of SQL Server database instances on the Azure cloud that might be required.
That approach leverages the fundamental capabilities of the cloud platform to guarantee that Microsoft SQL Server databases are always available, says DH2i CEO Don Boxley.
It’s arguable, however, that high availability should be a fundamental capability of any cloud service. Attaining and maintaining high availability of both software and infrastructure in the cloud still requires a fair amount of tools and expertise, especially as applications become distributed across multiple data centers and availability zones connected over a wide area network (WAN). DH2i is making a case for attaining high availability without relying on dedicated clusters, data replication tools, and virtual private networks that are difficult to set up and maintain.
“Organizations want to get rid of the VPN,” says Boxley.
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The Right to High Availability
IT organizations have been paying extra for the privilege of high availability since the dawn of IT. However, when IT infrastructure is plentiful in the age of the cloud the time may have come to rethink that. There’s an argument to be made for making high availability a standard element of any cloud services contract. While DxEnterprise makes it simpler for IT teams to achieve high availability, the onus for acquiring and implementing that capability arguably belongs to the cloud service provider. High availability by rights should be an expectation rather than privilege.
As cloud computing continues to evolve it may only be a matter of time before high availability for databases and other elements of the software stack comes standard with any service. Cloud service providers are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate their services. It might not be long before they make high availability a core element of every service they provide, especially if customers demand it.
Automation in the Cloud
Many organizations, unfortunately, are often surprised by the level of IT effort required to ensure high availability in the cloud today. The assumption is the cloud service provider has the resources to automate those processes. As it turns out, however, IT teams are responsible for the software they deploy on a public cloud. However, just how automated a lot of the underlying software technologies deployed in the cloud is a work in progress. There may soon come a day when all the IT organization ever has to worry about is the business logic they write. Everything else will be well and truly automated.
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