Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Solaris

Campus Clusters Based on Sun Cluster Software

This article describes how to use Sun Cluster 3.0 software as part of a comprehensive disaster recovery solution to ensure continuous service availability. This article provides guidelines to consider when deploying a campus-cluster solution and offers helpful tips for setting up sound administrative practices.
Like this article? We recommend

This article highlights key technologies involved in spreading a SunPlex™ environment (enabled by Sun Cluster 3.0 software) across a company campus or distributed sites. It describes the processes that need to be incorporated by data centers to leverage the capability of campus clusters.

This article is targeted at IT architects and technical staff who want to understand, evaluate, and address single-site level disaster recovery for their data centers.

This article contains the following topics:

  • "Introduction"

  • "Technology Options for Disaster Recovery Solutions"

  • "Quick Checklist for Deployments"

  • "Campus Cluster Maximum Distances"

  • "Campus Cluster Topologies and Components"

  • "Campus Cluster Configurations"

  • "Performance in a Campus Cluster Environment"

  • "Management Aspects of Campus Clusters"

  • "Glossary"

  • "Related Resources"


Disasters do not happen often, but when they do occur, they are likely to have a significant impact on business in terms of lost revenue and service availability. Ensuring business continuity requires that enterprises deploy a multifaceted solution that includes several levels of disaster prevention and recovery technologies and well-documented procedures.

As part of a comprehensive, flexible, and scalable disaster recovery solution, campus clusters based on Sun Cluster 3.0 and newer versions can help protect service availability. With the SunPlex environment, enterprises can deliver higher service levels while helping to protect their critical business services from unavoidable risks—from small interruptions, such as power failures, to major catastrophes such as earthquakes and fires.

Yet technology alone does not address all aspects of continuous service availability. While most enterprises deploy some type of disaster recovery technology to protect against hardware failures or isolated incidents, protecting against a major catastrophe requires a well-planned, comprehensive solution. To ensure the highest levels of business continuity, enterprises must invest in three essential components—people, processes, and products. A well-trained staff armed with thoroughly tested procedures and a robust cluster infrastructure such as Sun Cluster 3.0 is the best defense against detrimental service interruptions.

Cluster Evolution

The concept of clustering two or more redundant servers and related storage arrays was originally introduced to ensure higher levels of availability in mission-critical or compute-intensive environments. These original clusters were expensive to manage, complex to administer, and difficult to extend as needs changed. Consequently, their use was limited. As high-end servers became more affordable and more widely used by enterprises of all types, clustering technology evolved to provide much greater flexibility, scalability, and manageability with increasing levels of service availability.

Local clusters (for example, clusters where all of the nodes1 and storage subsystems are at the same site) play a major role in achieving business continuity by providing a solid level of continuous service availability. In the early days of clustering technology, share storage subsystems were usually attached using SCSI technology. Due to technology limitations, the maximum distance between cluster nodes was limited by the maximum cable length between a server, the shared storage, and the other server, which could not exceed 50m.

While this configuration offers good protection against events such as node disk crashes, it does not protect against events that could destroy or damage the facility site.

With the advent of Fibre Channel technology, it became possible to replicate data over much greater distances. Now, enterprises can deploy cluster nodes and storage in different buildings or even at different sites without changing the software infrastructure, applications, data, and storage subsystems, thus building extended clusters.

Cluster Limitations

One drawback of long wires between nodes or storage is increased latency, which can decrease performance dramatically. When latency increases because of longer distances (for example, across a country), other types of data replication (for example, asynchronous mirroring) and other types of high availability or disaster recovery solutions (for example, a cluster of clusters) needed to be developed to solve these problems.

Although extended clusters offer significant protection against disasters, they are not a complete disaster recovery solution. A cluster that has only one logical copy of data is still vulnerable against inconsistencies that might be introduced by faulty software or hardware, even if that data is mirrored. Common user errors such as erroneously deleting database tables may cause a major disaster. In those cases, tape backup or some other up-to-date copy of data is invaluable for recovery.

Even cluster software can fail, especially in the case of a major disaster affecting the cluster infrastructure. For example, a campus cluster where all the nodes are located within a few kilometers may be subject to a major earthquake, knocking out utilities or otherwise affecting its operation. To protect against this possibility, most enterprises deploy a multifaceted solution to ensure continuous service availability.

People, Processes, and Products

Campus clusters are one of the best examples where people, processes, and products must work together for the solution to deliver its maximum benefits. The entire integrated stack of products, from servers and storage subsystems to the operating environment and clustering software, forms only the base of a highly available campus cluster infrastructure. Well-trained, dedicated people must then administer the infrastructure. Processes that cover all aspects of disaster prevention and recovery must be in place. A well-prepared enterprise not only deploys a comprehensive solution, it verifies its processes, trains its staff, and tests the technologies regularly (at least annually). When personnel are trained, best practices implemented, and sound technologies deployed, companies can deliver the high levels of service continuity required to remain competitive in today's economy.

SunPlex Environment

Built around the Sun Cluster 3.0 solution, the Solaris™ Operating Environment (Solaris OE), and Sun™ server, storage, and network connectivity products, the SunPlex environment helps increase business service levels while decreasing the costs and risks of managing complex enterprise networks. Through the SunPlex environment, devices, file systems, and networks can operate seamlessly across a tightly coupled pool of resources, making it easy to deploy extended or campus clusters without changing the underlying infrastructure or applications. A campus cluster based on Sun Cluster 3.0 software is a cluster where nodes are separated by distance in at least two sites.

Sun Cluster 3.0 software is designed to protect against single hardware or software failures such as node crashes or service interruptions. For greater reliability and performance, Sun Cluster 3.0 software is tightly integrated with the Solaris OE. This integration speeds up error detection time and makes the whole software stack more robust.

Depending on the failure, Sun Cluster 3.0 software either fails over the affected services to another node in the cluster or tries to restart them. In either case, the software's highest priority is to maintain data integrity regardless of what happens. This requirement drives the layout of the infrastructure and all of the algorithms in the product. This requirement is the reason why in certain disaster scenarios it might be necessary to initiate recovery procedures manually, in order not to jeopardize data integrity.

Standard monitoring agents are available for many best-of-breed databases and ERP applications. Agents for other services can be developed and deployed using either sophisticated APIs or easy-to-use utilities such as the SunPlex Agent Builder tool.

The Sun Cluster 3.0 software framework and associated algorithms do not change when deployed in a campus cluster. Service availability with data integrity is the primary goal. Depending on the actual requirements, the Sun Cluster 3.0 solution can form an excellent base for a disaster recovery solution, especially when combined with additional technologies, trained personnel, and well-developed management processes.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020