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Mind the App–Application Availability When Virtualizing

Created: 27 Sep 2011 • Updated: 29 Mar 2012
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Have you ever ridden the tube in England? I am always taken with the simple yet effective warning “Mind The Gap” that you see when you step off the tube, which is their subway system, to avoid any potential missteps or injuries.

With that in mind, I’m offering a slight twist on that brilliant phrase when it comes to virtualization – Mind the App. No, I am not talking about the apps you download to your magical devices. I am talking about protecting the status and availability of applications in your virtualized environments.

Why? As I briefly discussed in my last entry, the drivers of virtualization have changed, and application visibility is a critical component for virtualizing business critical applications.

Virtual machine backup and recovery do not equal application availability or business continuity. There are a number of appropriate and effective ways to bring a virtual machine back online or recover an application through backup operations – after the fact. However, in an IDC survey in 2009, 51% of respondents indicated that application availability was still their key challenge in managing virtual servers. More interesting, is that we see that tier 3 applications are virtualized more than tier 2, and tier 2 more than tier 1. So, despite longstanding recovery options, what’s the issue?

The issue is in monitoring the health of the application – i.e. minding the app – in the first place. A solution like VMware HA brilliantly brings a virtual machine back online quickly and easily, but has no visibility into the virtual machine itself. So, how do you cross that gap? Through visibility into the health of the application itself. 

But there are still businesses which continue to hold back on virtualizing more business critical applications because of conflicts between line of business goals and availability. To move ahead in virtualizing more business critical applications, businesses must address these conflicts. The business wants to virtualize to achieve greater cost efficiencies and quick time-to-value in delivering business enabling applications. The application admin, however, needs to ensure seamless and consistent availability of those applications. 

There are also concerns about how applications will run on multiple tiers across multiple virtual guests and hosts. Therein, lays the gap. Through greater visibility delivered by new innovationsthat monitor the health and recovery of applications and can coordinate any necessary restarts of the virtual machines, both of these goals can be aligned and achieved. Symantec addresses this through its application availability solution.

With this kind of visibility, you can cross the application gap with every confidence. The business goals are met. And, admins get the application availability they need. So, Mind the App – a simple activity that means your business can get more out of its virtualization strategy.

VIDEO: The Virtualization Squad – ApplicationHA

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