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High Availability: Design, Techniques and Processes

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High Availability: Design, Techniques and Processes

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  • Copyright 2001
  • Edition: 1st
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  • ISBN-10: 0-13-096288-0
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-096288-1

Training, systems support, backup and maintenance account for nearly 80% of the total cost of today's enterprise applications -- and much of that money is spent trying to squeeze increased availability out of applications in spite of weak design and management processes. In High Availability: Design, Techniques and Processes, two leading IT experts bring together "best practices" for every people and process-related issue associated with maximizing application availability. The goal: to help enterprises dramatically improve the value of their strategic applications, without spending more money. Using extensive real-world examples and scenarios, the authors cover the entire application lifecycle. Learn how to design systems that will be easier to maintain; ensure that new systems will not increase in cost later due to problems you could have anticipated; and plan long-term availability strategies. Discover how to improve redundancy, increase standardization, simplify backups, and much more. These strategies and techniques are applicable to any IT professional, at any level, in any architecture, from traditional mainframes through client/server to leading-edge n-tier environments. For all IT professionals, including system architects, project managers, administrators, software developers and software engineers.

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Table of Contents

1. Today's Computing Environment.

Complexity, Complexity, Complexity. The Total Cost of Ownership Issue. Summary.

2. Achieving Higher Availability.

Determining User Availability Requirements. Availability Levels and Measurements. Summary.

3. Planning for System Availability.

Identifying System Components. Addressing Critical Components. The Four Elements of Availability. Summary.

4. Preparing for Systems Management.

Processes, Data, Tools, and Organization. Systems Management in the PC World (or the Lack of It). IT Organizations: Away from Centralization, Then Back Again. Understanding the Systems To Manage. The Basics of Management: Five Phases. Identifying the Systems Management Disciplines.

5. Implementing Service-Level Management.

Service-Level Management. Problem Management. Change Management. Security Management. Asset and Configuration Management. Availability Management.

6. From Centralized to Distributed Computing Environments.

Systems Management Disciplines. The Centralized Computing Environment. The Distributed Computing Environment. Systems Management in Today's Computing Environment. Developing a Deployment Strategy. Summary.

7. Techniques That Address Multiple Availability Requirements.

Redundancy. Backup of Critical Resources. Clustering. Fault Tolerance. Isolation or Partitioning. Automated Operations. Access Security Mechanisms. Standardization. Summary.

8. Special Techniques for System Reliability.

The Use of Reliable Components. Programming to Minimize Failures. Implement Environmental Independence Measures. Utilize Fault Avoidance Measures. Summary.

9. Special Techniques for System Recoverability.

Automatic Fault Recognition. Fast Recovery Techniques. Minimizing Use of Volatile Storage Media. Summary.

10. Special Techniques for System Serviceability.

Online System Redefinition. Informative Error Messages. Complete Documentation. Installation of Latest Fixes and Patches. Summary.

11. Special Techniques for System Manageability.

Use Manageable Components. Management Applications. Educate IS Personnel on Systems Management Disciplines. Summary.

12. All Together Now.

The Value of Systems Management Disciplines. Which One First? Analyze Outages. Identify Single Points of Failure. Exploit What You Have. An Implementation Strategy. Summary.

Appendix A: Availability Features of Selected Products.

Availability Features of Selected Operating Systems. Availability Features of Selected Hardware Components. Availability Features of Selected Software Components.




Back when the mainframe ruled the world, information technology (IT) practitioners quickly learned the value of a well-managed system. They understood the value of managing problems, changes, and other issues confronting large, mission-critical computer systems running an organization's most sensitive business functions.

When the popularity of mainframes waned in favor of less costly midrange and PC systems, IT organizations were caught in the frenzy of developing and deploying new business applications with breakneck speed. Suddenly, more computing power was available to end users, who wanted to accomplish more with it than ever before. The corporate information system grew in scope, use, and importance, with no end in sight.

Now that the dust has settled somewhat, both the IT organization and the leaders of the business recognize that an unmanaged state-of-the-art computer system can be as bad as having none at all. Symptoms of this problem with unmanaged systems manifest themselves in ballooning IT costs, overworked and demoralized IT staff, and user dissatisfaction.

This book demonstrates how to deliver maximum system availability and manageability throughout a computer system's lifecycle, from design through implementation and maintenance. We review every key technique for simplifying the management and maintenance of computer systems - including redundancy, standardization, backups, and many more. We discuss practical means of implementing these techniques to make your current and future systems far less prone to outages.

We cover technical and management issues, since you cannot achieve long-term system availability and manageability solutions without addressing both. We have written this book to benefit everyone in the IT organization. Technical staff will find practical operational solutions that can be implemented immediately. IT management will gain a better perspective of the end-to-end and interrelated requirements of running an IT shop. And Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other senior IT executives will find forward-looking strategies for enhancing the IT infrastructure and its contribution to the corporate bottom line.

You can manage systems better if you design them with high systems availability in mind. This book will show you how to address your system availability problems, from start to finish.


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