“Linux has crossed the chasm to mainstream adoption.”
That now-famous pronouncement was made by Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst at Forrester Research, in August 2010. ¹
Fast-forward to 2012, and Linux adoption shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to IDC, Linux revenues are slated to reach $1B in 2012. ²
Enterprises may have initially flocked to this open source technology as a way to cut costs during the economic downturn, but observers now say companies are increasingly looking to Linux as a driver of growth. This view is supported by a platform migration study done by IDC in 2010. In that study, the main reasons listed for migrations were “lower acquisition costs, better performance and availability, lower operational costs, and streamlined management.” ³
Consider: In its latest wide-ranging Linux forecast, IDG found that confidence in, and customer satisfaction with, Linux are growing. Among other indicators, IDC’s research found that Linux is increasingly seeing use as a platform for supporting business-critical applications.
But while a move to Linux can help reduce such things as server and software costs, other challenges are introduced. For example, Linux’s native operating system tools aren’t always ready to handle mission-critical tasks. To perform many complex storage management and high availability tasks, applications need to be taken down.
This article looks at challenges surrounding storage management, HA, and Disaster Recovery in Linux environments, along with Symantec solutions that provide protection for the Linux infrastructure.
The price of running a Linux-based environment is less than running a Unix environment, making it a smart strategic choice. However, native open-source storage and high-availability tools often lack the resiliency features to ensure that data centers are efficiently run and are always highly available.
In particular, native tools are usually not easily deployable, require extensive support, lack a cross platform consistency, and a centralized management tool. In addition, these tools can lead to increased downtime, degraded performance, and higher cost of ownership. Users should look for solutions that are stable and mature, with several years of market leadership.
Symantec offers a wide range of solutions for Linux environments to make them enterprise ready. These solutions include data protection, storage management, and high availability and disaster recovery. For mission-critical enterprise data center applications, these offerings deliver Unix-class performance, scalability, administration, and support.
Symantec’s approach is to enable enterprises to achieve the following goals:
- Simplified operating system migrations. With Portable Data Containers, a feature of Veritas Storage Foundation, administrators can export data from Unix and import it on Linux in minutes, without having to create a copy or move the data, resulting in less downtime.
- Operational efficiency. With Symantec’s centralized storage and high availability management tools, tasks that affect multiple servers can be done from one central interface. In addition, Symantec enables administrators to identify and visualize potential problems with applications and storage resources by correlating health and status information across multiple applications, servers, storage, and replication resources.
- Higher storage utilization. Symantec enables administrators to improve storage utilization and capacity management across heterogeneous operating systems and storage hardware. Storage volumes and file systems can be grown or shrunk dynamically, and storage can be provisioned to new applications without modifications or end-user downtime. With automated storage tiering, unimportant or out-of-date files can be moved to less-expensive storage devices without changing the way users or applications access those files.
- High availability and disaster recovery. Faster failover can be accomplished by allowing multiple servers the ability to concurrently share the same storage pool. Data recovery can be made simpler by using Symantec data management solutions such as host-based mirroring and replication. Integrated into these is the ability to do proactive and non-disruptive DR testing without having to take a running application down for testing.
Saving millions by minimizing downtimeRecently, one Symantec customer, HD Supply, an industry-leading wholesale distribution company, migrated its applications from HP-UX, IBM AIX, and Solaris proprietary servers to an Oracle Linux platform hosted on 440 commodity servers. As a result, the company saved $8 million, but service levels soon became a challenge.
When internal network problems occurred and a multi-node Linux cluster for a mission-critical Oracle database didn’t fail over as expected, the company turned to Symantec for help.
Working with Symantec Platinum Partner Agilysys, the company implemented Veritas Storage Foundation High Availability from Symantec to manage all critical clusters for Linux. Veritas Storage Foundation HA combines Veritas Storage Foundation to simplify heterogeneous storage management, Veritas Cluster Server to monitor and automate failover for applications in case of failure, and Veritas Volume Replicator, an option to replicate data over IP networks as an alternative to traditional array-based data replication architectures.
The result: The company realized more than $2 million in storage and disaster recovery costs, eliminated Severity 1 and 2 incidents, experienced a two-fold faster cluster server deployment, and significantly reduced the time IT staffers must spend on cluster management.
What IDC calls the Linux “ecosystem” is healthy and continues to grow, even in uncertain economic times. According to IDC, “Linux is one of the few operating systems that will be a survivor in tomorrow’s IT, and it will play an instrumental role in cloud computing into the future.”
Moreover, as confidence in Linux continues to grow, enterprises are expected to increasingly turn to the operating system as a foundation for business-critical application deployments.
Symantec, which has been a regular contributor in key areas of Linux development, offers a broad portfolio of solutions for Linux server operating environments. The company is committed to helping organizations achieve the performance, scalability, and reliability of Unix for the price of Linux.
- ¹ “LinuxCon Analysts: Linux Is Winning,” Datamation, August 12, 2010
- ² “Worldwide Linux Operating Environment 2011-2015 Forecast: Accelerating Toward the Era of Cloud,” IDC, April 2011
- ³ “Worldwide Linux Operating Environment 2010-2013 Forecast: Can Linux Prove Resilience in an Economic Slump?” IDC, April 2010