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Mirrored Servers???

We had a server outage and was asked by our client to "do what it takes to make sure this doesn't happen again. The only solution I can think of would be to have two servers that replicate each other dynamically. The server has a proprietary database application on it, and it running Windows Server 2003.
I'd like some opinions as to what other people do in this situation when they are running mission critical servers and cannot afford to be down at all.
It's a health care environment and runs 24/7, therefore there's never a convenient time to reboot the server, or perform maintenance.
Ultimately it would be nice to test these fault tolerant servers by "unplugging" one and not missing a beat.
Thanks for your help with this...
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thecomputerdocs
Asked:
thecomputerdocs
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2 Solutions
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Have you heard of Double-Take?
http://www.doubletake.com/
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Andrew DavisManagerCommented:
wow i was just looking fo that (couldnt remember the name)
check out DoubleTake or NeverFail.

I will give kudos to Sembee as i recall reading this a few days ago in one of his posts.
;)
Andy

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thecomputerdocsAuthor Commented:
I've already been reading about doubletake. Has either of you used it?
I'd love to hear from Sembee too.
Like I said earlier, we need to be able to "pull the plug" on one server and noone would know.
Also, I can't seem to figure out how this technology works, specifically how applications and workstations call upon one "virtual server"....each of the mirrored servers would need to have unique names and IP's, right? Would this just act as one server?
Thanks for the help guys.....
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Andrew DavisManagerCommented:
sorry no i have never used it, but it did look impressive.
Idid find this article the other day that i found interesting.
http://mcpmag.com/reviews/Products/article.asp?EditorialsID=298
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Good link - and they do have an evaluation you can get:
http://www.doubletake.com/products/product-evaluation.aspx
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thecomputerdocsAuthor Commented:
I've already been googling the heck out of the products as well as learning more and more about this.
The neverfail product seems to have answered more questions than the doubletake.
I'd really like to hear from someone that's used this product....I'll keep checking out the reviews tho. Thanks for the help so far everyone....
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thecomputerdocsAuthor Commented:
Andrew,

The articles are very interesting...I appreciate the input. Wonder what the cost is?
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thecomputerdocsAuthor Commented:
Pricing: The Neverfail price is based on the server in the pair with the greatest number of CPUs. The product's Heartbeat component costs $4,400 for a single-CPU server; $6,160 for a dual-CPU server; and $7,920 for a server with four or more CPUs. Application modules for specific environments cost $1,100 for a single-CPU server; $1,540 for a dual-CPU server; and $1,980 for one with four or more CPUs. The SCOPE Analysis costs $1,000 extra. The company also charges a 20% annual maintenance fee.
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thecomputerdocsAuthor Commented:
Been on the phone with Neverfail. They don't allow their software to run on a DC.....what a blow to this project...I"ll have to see what doubletake says....
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thecomputerdocsAuthor Commented:
Is there anyone out there that has any experience doing this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I'm learning this info at a fast rate, but lack any hand on experience and lack any peers to discuss their experiences in detail about this.
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Andrew DavisManagerCommented:
ive left an alert for some high level guys (including sembee) so hopefully one of them will be along.
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
i am implementing double take as we speak, however things to note....this is a data replication and server imaging software, it is nott a direct failover software. If you have the SRO licence with double take, you still need to install windows on a new box, and then restore the image, it will not do an auto failover...NetApp recently showcased their latest offering for straight failover with replication, however, if you are really serious about this, i would be looking a little more at vmware and some virtual boxes....

Double take is an excellent offering....you can limit downtime but i highly doubt you will be able to wipe it out


http://www.netapp.com/ - i saw that failover to a second exchange server within a second
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Andrew DavisManagerCommented:
Thanks jay.
Hope all is going well with the new job ;)
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
No worries Andrew....job is good, busy as all hell, but good :)
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thecomputerdocsAuthor Commented:
If we move into a VMWare environment, we'd still need to boxes, running VMWare, correct?
We would want to make sure that there is hardware fault tolderance as well.
Does VMWare replicate?
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
you would still need the dual boxes yes, but there is tools that allow you to move VM's across to different hardware whilst live.....double take can replicate VM's
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