High Availability Cluster Software

High Availability Cluster Software Overview

High availability cluster software manages servers that are grouped together to provide continuous availability, eliminating a single point of failure. This configuration of shared resources is referred to as high availability clusters (HA Clusters) or failover clusters.

This automated approach ensures continuous application availability without the need for manual oversight or intervention. The software notes when a server supporting an application or service fails. It uses a ‘heartbeat technique’ to monitor cluster node health through a dedicated network connection. Each node in the cluster sends a ‘heartbeat’ to the others advertising its availability. Once a failing node is detected, the high availability cluster software immediately restarts the process on another server.

The software helps optimize performance throughout the cluster. Successful high availability cluster implementations are dependent on an IT architecture that addresses load balancing, shared storage, data scalability, multiple networks, geographical diversity, backup, and recovery.

Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs), Load Balancing Software, and high availability software are closely connected. ADCs and load balancing software distribute workloads across multiple servers to improve performance. High availability cluster software combines multiple servers to function as a single entity.

High availability cluster software functionality can be deployed in your on-premises IT infrastructure or utilized as a part of services offered by a cloud provider.

High availability clusters help ensure your systems, databases, and applications are always available to its users when needed. They are especially important in supporting mission-critical applications such as financial transaction processing, database processing, and eCommerce.

High Availability Cluster Products

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Windows Server Failover Clustering

Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) is a group of independent servers that work together to increase application and service availability.

IBM PowerHA SystemMirror

IBM offers PowerHA SystemMirror, for high availability clustering.

NetApp MetroCluster

NetApp MetroCluster software is a solution that combines array-based clustering with synchronous replication to deliver continuous availability and zero data loss at the lowest cost. The vendor states administration of the array-based cluster is simpler because the dependencies and…

HPE Serviceguard

HPE Serviceguard is a high availability clustering solution, from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.

NEC Express5800 Fault Tolerant (FT)

NEC offers the Express5800 Fault Tolerant (FT) model to support high availability.

Huntsman High Availability (HA)

Australian company Huntsman Security offers Huntsman High Availability (HA), an add-on service supporting their primary security products for enterprises that need it.

everRun

Stratus Technologies headquartered in Maynard offers everRun, a high availability software solution supporting virtualized workloads and applications.

NEC ExpressCluster

NEC offers ExpressCluster, a high availability clustering and disaster recovery solution.

Red Hat Cluster Suite

Clustered systems provide reliability, scalability, and availability to critical production services. Using Red Hat Cluster Suite, the user can create a cluster to suit an organization's needs for performance, high availability, load balancing, scalability, file sharing, and economy.…

Oracle Real Application Clusters

Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) allow customers to run a single Oracle Database across multiple servers in order to maximize availability and enable horizontal scalability, while accessing shared storage. User sessions connecting to Oracle RAC instances can failover and safely…

SIOS Technology

SIOS Technology Corp. headquartered in San Mateo makes software solutions that provide IT Resilience for critical applications . Using SIOS high availability clustering, applications automatically recover from infrastructure and application failures in a matter of minutes with no…

InfoScale Availability (formerly Veritas Cluster Server)

InfoScale Availability (formerly Veritas Cluster Server) is a high availability cluster based on software developed by Veritas Software.

Percona XtraDB Cluster

Percona XtraDB Cluster (PXC) is a high availability, open-source, MySQL clustering solution that helps enterprises minimize unexpected downtime and data loss, reduce costs, and improve the performance and scalability of database environments. The vendor states PXC can support critical…

SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension

SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension is a high availability cluster availabe from German company SUSE, for users of its Linux Enterprise Server solution.

HelpSystems Robot HA

Robot HA from HelpSystems is High Availability Software for IBM i, presented by the vendor as a simple, scalable business continuity solution available in the cloud and on-premises, allowing users to use a secondary system to perform nightly backups, queries, and planned maintenance…

DxEnterprise

DxEnterprise is multi-platform Smart Availability software built on patented technology that achieves the highest levels of availability for SQL Server instances and availability groups, containers, and apps across both Windows and Linux environments. It can be used to manage a variety…

Learn More About High Availability Cluster Software

What is High Availability Cluster Software?

High availability cluster software manages servers that are grouped together to provide continuous availability, eliminating a single point of failure. This configuration of shared resources is referred to as high availability clusters (HA Clusters) or failover clusters.

This automated approach ensures continuous application availability without the need for manual oversight or intervention. The software notes when a server supporting an application or service fails. It uses a ‘heartbeat technique’ to monitor cluster node health through a dedicated network connection. Each node in the cluster sends a ‘heartbeat’ to the others advertising its availability. Once a failing node is detected, the high availability cluster software immediately restarts the process on another server.

The software helps optimize performance throughout the cluster. Successful high availability cluster implementations are dependent on an IT architecture that addresses load balancing, shared storage, data scalability, multiple networks, geographical diversity, backup, and recovery.

Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs), Load Balancing Software, and high availability software are closely connected. ADCs and load balancing software distribute workloads across multiple servers to improve performance. High availability cluster software combines multiple servers to function as a single entity.

High availability cluster software functionality can be deployed in your on-premises IT infrastructure or utilized as a part of services offered by a cloud provider.

High availability clusters help ensure your systems, databases, and applications are always available to its users when needed. They are especially important in supporting mission-critical applications such as financial transaction processing, database processing, and eCommerce.

High Availability Cluster Software Features

High availability cluster software will include these features.’

  • Eliminates single point of failure
  • Automatically detects application failures regardless of the cause
  • Automates failover of the application to another host
  • Prevents data loss during a system failure
  • Restarts or ‘repairs’ the failed server without requiring manual intervention
  • Manually failover to support planned maintenance

High Availability Cluster Software Comparison

Consider the following before deploying high availability cluster software.

Cost: High availability clusters are more costly and complex than un-clustered server installations. Cost, complexity, and IT support requirements increase dramatically with cluster size growth. Validate that any decision to go with high availability clusters is justified by your organization’s need for continuous availability to support its applications and services.

High Availability Cluster Software vs Fault-Tolerant Hardware Solutions

Fault tolerance is the pinnacle of high availability. High availability cluster software focuses on delivering the minimal possible downtime, fault-tolerant hardware aims to deliver zero downtime. Fault-tolerant server components are duplexed, the two CPUs are kept in lockstep, and if there is a failure the backup immediately takes over. These servers are more expensive than servers that can be used for high availability software clustering.

Pricing Information

Vendors sometimes offer free high availability clustering software to support licensed users of their server platforms or databases. When there is the necessity to pay for this software vendors will provide a price quote. The costs for an on-premises installation of high availability clusters will mostly come from server-related costs and tech support. When taking advantage of high availability clusters in the cloud, the cloud providers charge for the resources that are consumed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is high availability cluster software?

High availability cluster software (HA clusters or failover clusters) provides continuous availability by grouping servers together to support applications and services. The software monitors the status of each server in the cluster and when a failure is detected restarts the application on another server. This eliminates a single point of failure within a system ensuring your systems applications, and databases are available to its users when needed.

What are the benefits of using high availability cluster software?

High availability cluster software supports continuous application availability, minimizing or eliminating downtime for mission-critical applications and services. This promotes business continuity, preserves client satisfaction, protects an organization’s reputation, and avoids costly outages. The software helps maintain website availability during traffic spikes and eliminates the need for manual monitoring and intervention.

How much does high availability cluster software cost?

Some vendors may offer free high availability clustering software to users of their server platforms or databases. Since these are typically custom solutions, you may need to reach out to the vendor for a quote. The costs for an on-premises installation of high availability clusters will mostly come from server-related costs and tech support. Cloud providers of high availability clusters usually charge for the resources that are consumed.