For many years, businesses and customers have expected “mission-critical” applications to be available on a 24x7 basis. However, today, everything is “mission-critical”. Applications which were once considered complimentary such as email and social media are now all critical to business success. All of these new applications expect that the underlying IT infrastructure will be operational. Downtime is not acceptable.
These availability demands reach into the depth of every organization. Information Technology needs to be ubiquitous and easily accessible for internal users. Companies depend on IT to deliver the new products or processes that attract customers and reduce costs. If organizations cannot provide this “always-on” style of application availability, they run the real risk of losing revenue, profits and market position.
In addition, most organizations today rely on interlocking business applications that integrate processes across departments or business units. Examples include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Change Management, Customer Relationship Management and Product Lifecycle Management software. No longer are these applications developed in-house, but instead are provided by companies such as SAP. In many cases, these systems are linked to customer and supplier systems. This creates a complex and interdependent infrastructure. The continuous availability of these applications therefore becomes critical to all organizations, and is often essential to their very survival.
Addressing the Challenges
SAP delivers a comprehensive application suite, but relies on the underlying IT infrastructure as the base for this environment. The reliability of this infrastructure is critical for the operation of the entire enterprise. Hardware failures, human errors and natural disasters can lead to downtime. In order to provide this application availability, additional functionality for application and data portability is implemented.
As a result, companies make large-scale investments to architect their SAP environment for resiliency to any factor that may cause an interruption to the business, including local failures and data center disasters. In the past, many of these solutions depended on expensive UNIX or mainframe hardware. Today, many SAP customers have switched to Red Hat Enterprise Linux™ with Veritas Storage Foundation™ by Symantec software to provide an equally powerful, yet more cost effective solution.
The traditional approach to business protection had been to copy data to tapes and reload the data at an off-site data center. This process is no longer practical because it can take days or even weeks to re-establish the application. With environments based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Symantec, organizations can now deploy a tiered software approach to maintaining application availability that includes server clustering and data replication. This paper will focus on these high availability and disaster recovery scenarios as they relate to SAP.
Enterprise Service Levels on Linux
Customers are moving SAP systems away from proprietary platforms to Red Hat Enterprise Linux open-source technologies because it offers better performance and reduced costs while eliminating vendor lock-in. Red Hat and Symantec solutions together provide levels of availability, scalability and reliability for SAP applications that were once available only on proprietary UNIX and mainframe systems. Red Hat and Symantec have the enterprise tools, experience, engineering and testing relationship to provide SAP customers the means to automate off-premise disaster recovery in order to improve business stability.
Addressing “Single Point of Failure”
Server clustering allows users to fail immediately over to an operational version of the application on surviving members of the cluster. Data can be replicated with software on the servers or from the storage array. However, this process needs knowledge of the application to guarantee data integrity. By clustering servers within a data center, customers protect critical SAP environments from a range of hardware, software and human errors.
Data Center Outages
Protecting against a site disaster requires another level of sophistication. Global clustering and remote data replication are required so that customers can switch over an entire application between data centers quickly. By adding automation, these processes become secure, repeatable and dependable.
Improving the availability of SAP is more than replicating the data to a redundant storage array and clustering servers. SAP is a complex environment with multiple instances and services deployed across many platforms. Many instances represent a single point of failure, unless the environment is architected with local or remote failover capabilities. In case of failure, these databases, services and landscapes must be restarted in a specific order to guarantee the integrity of the data. In support of off-site recovery, Red Hat and Symantec provide several tool sets to automate offpremise Disaster Recovery (DR) for SAP.
Red Hat provides a distribution kit of Red Hat Enterprise Linux™ specifically for SAP customers that contains a fully supported SAP environment in a single package. This was designed in collaboration with SAP. As the world’s largest enterprise open source software company, Red Hat brings considerable experience and expertise in deploying software environments for mission-critical operations. In addition, Red Hat Enterprise Linux platforms assist organizations in evolving infrastructure from physical to virtual and cloud-based solutions. Additional reason customers choose Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the basis for their SAP implementation is more certified public clouds for SAP are available. This allows customers to gradually migrate to SAP hybrid cloud delivery since Red Hat Enterprise Linux can seamlessly move workloads between these different cloud models.
Symantec’s High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions for SAP provide the underlying software that enables automated off-premise DR. This software bundle undergoes SAP-documented integration testing to assure customers of proven reliability. Symantec has partnered with SAP since 1997 to optimize the performance and improve the availability of SAP environments. Symantec High Availability and Disaster Recovery solution for SAP removes dependency on array-specific software and other hardware products to improve the application availability and automate recovery for SAP environments.
IT organizations require SAP solutions that simplify operations, improve application availability and reduce costs. Red Hat and Symantec solutions meet these requirements and provide a fully supported infrastructure that is platform independent. These solutions are the result of joint engineering, field training and customer support relationships. Together, Symantec and Red Hat offer the ability to deploy SAP on cost-efficient hardware platforms, with the highest level of reliability and performance.