"[Administrators would] have critical situation when a cluster didn't behave the way it was supposed to when network or storage glitch occurred. No one could troubleshoot except for the person who created the cluster," he said.
As such, the wholesaler had some website outages, including a major one that took down an e-commerce website for hours.
A Unix team leader who had experience with Symantec's VCS suite assured him that the software is rock solid, so the company performed proof of concepts that passed with flying colors.
Cowles also noted that the cost using VCS to cluster Linux systems was reasonable, unlike the "off the charts" cost of clustering Unix systems.
"Now I can democratize the engineering and support of the clusters and have automatic freebies on all the monitoring and control panels, which gave everyone a nice visual of all the performance of these clusters," he said.
In a year, HD Supply has created 10 large Linux clusters with an average of four or five nodes each that run hundreds of databases "That allows us to create a service group more easily. We've been able to crank it out like a cookie cutter," he said.
"I'd say we can deploy probably three times the amount of clustered infrastructure with Veritas with the same head count as with the manual Red Hat Linux method. And, my failures due to clustering in some way, have vanished. For me, this has been a game changer," he added.
Cowles did note that with 26 storage arrays from HP, Hitachi Data Systems, AMS, Pillar Data Systems and NetApp, he'd like to see more access to monitoring data through Symantec's Veritas Operations Manager tool.
"We want to syndicate with our enterprise dashboard and monitoring system. For example, if I'm running a farm on a cluster, there are certain metrics I want to keep an eye on," he said. "I don't have an easy insight today into what my cluster capacity is, or for that matter, which application or service group is consuming how much of what capacity."
Angspatt suggested that's exactly what Veritas Operations Manager 4.1 now provides -- a single management console for multiple physical and virtual servers.
VOM now allows IT organizations to provision storage using policy-based templates and implement chargeback based on real application storage utilization through Veritas Operations Manager Advanced. The tool allows administrators to take immediate remedial action to optimize and scale storage utilization with Veritas Storage Foundation.
Symantec's updated product suite also includes:
- Veritas Replicator 6.0;
- Symantec VirtualStore 6.0;
- Veritas Storage Foundation for Windows 6.0;
- Veritas Storage Foundation for Oracle RAC 6.0; and
- Veritas Storage Foundation for Sybase ACE 6.0.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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