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Figure 1

The SunPlexTM Platform

Chitra Badrinath

The SunTM Cluster 3.0 Software extends the Solaris Operating Environment, enabling core Solaris services to operate seamlessly across a SunPlex[tm] Platform. This is done while maintaining full Solaris compatibility with existing applications. Sun Cluster 3.0 provides high availability (HA) and scalability to everyday Solaris applications through continuous network and data availability. Application services that are written to the Sun Cluster 3.0 API helps achieve higher levels of availability as well as scalability. This article will provide a brief overview of Sun Cluster 3.0 features and benefits as seen within the SunPlex system.

The SunPlex system is a key element of a services-driven computing environment. SunPlex systems deliver management capabilities in tightly coupled pools of resources, making it possible to manage the service, not the server. Sun Cluster 3.0 software is the key to building SunPlex systems, including the Solaris Operating Environment, Sun servers, storage devices, and network connectivity products, and Sun support services.

Sun Cluster 3.0 software takes clustering beyond the realm of high availability by adding the simplicity of single system administrative view and the potential of seamless scalability. It provides a single, globally coherent process and resource management view for the multiple nodes of a cluster. In essence, the cluster becomes a single administrative entity and presents itself and its services to clients as if it were a single compute resource.

A typical SunPlex system consists of the Sun servers, Sun StorEdge arrays, Solaris operating environment, Sun Cluster 3.0 software, and other networking products in addition to the applications that are made cluster aware by the agents (see Figure 1). A private interconnect ties the cluster together to help ensure a tighter coupling of the cluster resources. A correct configuration of the cluster helps to ensure no single point of failure. Customers can choose to cluster in a box, for example to cluster the various domains within SunTM Fire hardware, or to cluster across servers with multiple Sun servers. The global features of Sun Cluster 3.0 -- the global devices, the global file service, and the global networking -- provide the plumbing that ensure faster failure detection and recovery of the application service in the cluster.

Manageability Simplified

Traditional clustering solutions have been a challenge to install, manage, and monitor for systems administrators. The SunPlex environment with its SunPlex Manager tool, integration with SunTM Management Center, and SunPlex Agent Builder tool helps improve the manageability aspect in deploying a SunPlex system.

Easy Infrastructure Management

SunPlex systems incorporate system management tools, such as Sun Management Center software and SunPlex Manager, to create a centrally managed hardware and software environment that provides easy administration and lower operating costs. Day-to-day administrative functions can be automated to minimize human errors and to enable faster recovery and consistent service levels. Refer to Sun Cluster 3.0 systems administration guide on

To begin, the SunPlex environment can be configured using the SunPlex Manager tool. This is a browser-based tool that enables remote and secure management of the cluster. Installation of the cluster software can be done using Solaris JumpstartTM technologies. This enables faster installation of the cluster software. Continuous monitoring of the cluster is achieved by the integration of Sun Cluster 3.0 with Sun Management Center software. The Sun Management Center integration enable administrators to graphically display cluster resources, resource types, and resource groups. It also enables users to monitor configuration changes and check the status of cluster components. The integration of Sun Cluster 3.0 software with the Sun Management Center, Sun StorEdgeTM Instant Image software, Sun StorEdge Point-in-Time, Sun StorEdgeTM 9900 Truecopy and Sun StorEdgeTM Network Data Replicator and other products from Sun and its partners ensures a seamless environment designed to deliver highly available application services, within and across datacenters. Customers also have the ability to lower their total cost of ownership by deploying Sun's storage solutions, such as StorEdge Instant Image software and StorEdge Network Data Replicator, within the SunPlex environment. The SunPlex environment can also be deployed in a campus cluster scenario to deliver disaster recovery solutions from Sun.

Benefits for SAP Deployments

Sun Cluster 3.0 offers two types of application services to customers who desire high availability. The failover services provide the traditional application failover foundation that leverages the global file service and the global network service to provide for faster failure detection and failover. Vertically scaled applications, such as databases, are most suited for failover services.

SAP Deployments in a SunPlex environment can benefit from simpler manageability and consistent service levels. Within a SunPlex environment, customers can cluster the central instance, the database and the application servers. With the Scaleable SAP agent and the liveCache agent for SAP, Sun provides a unique solution within the SunPlex environment. With the addition of the liveCache agent customers can get both performance and availability of their applications.

SAP Deployments in a SunPlex environment can benefit from simpler manageability and consistent service levels. Within a SunPlex environment, customers can cluster the central instance, the database and the application servers. With the Scaleable SAP agent and the liveCache agent for SAP, Sun provides a comprehensive solution within the SunPlex environment. With the liveCache agent customers no longer have to choose between performance and availability of their applications.

Consistent Service Levels

Consistent service levels are difficult to attain even in clustered environments. The SunPlex environment, however, has a number of capabilities that meet this challenge. Sun Cluster 3.0 Software enables service level management and helps maintain consistent service levels by isolatin, automating and efficiently managing the failovers of SAP components. In contrast to other clustering solutions, the SunPlex environment for SAP, includes the database and the central instance, and the application servers within the SAP deployment. Additionally, the Scalable SAP agent can be managed with a single agent for all the instances of the application. The prioritized service level management within Sun Cluster 3.0 also helps to ensure that, in the event of a failure, the application server with the higher priority receives the required resources. Prioritized service management can be leveraged for other applications services within a SunPlex environment in addition to SAP. Sun Cluster 3.0 works in conjunction with Solaris Resource Manager allowing resources to the SAP system which has the higher priority to the customer's business process while optimizing the use of server resources.

For information on SAP deployments in a SunPlex environment, refer to:
Oracle9i RAC in a SunPlex Environment

Oracle9i RAC can also benefit from the SunPlex environment. Sun and Oracle work closely together to provide reliability, scalability, and manageability to RAC deployments on SunPlex Systems. Sun Cluster 3.0 offers an advanced agent for both HA-Oracle and the parallel versions Oracle parallel server and Oracle9i RAC.

SunPlex Systems also offer support for Remote Shared Memory Technology, which enhances the performance of distributed applications by allowing fast messaging between instances of a distributed application. Oracle is working to incorporate RSM technology into 9iRAC. Refer to the SunPlex system data sheet for Oracle at:
for more information refer to:
For more information about Oracle9i RAC and Sun Cluster refer to:
Easy Agent Development

Sun provides agents for both HA and scalable application services, and SunPlex Systems offer one of the easiest cluster agent development environment. The SunPlex Agent Builder generates agent codeKsh or C in two simple steps. Additionally, the SunPlex Agent Builder offers the Generic Agent functionality that generates pre-compiled agent binaries that require no code writing or modification.

Sun provides the flexibility of choosing to deploy a Sun-developed agent, an ISV-developed agent (like IBM DB2, Legato, etc.) or an agent developed in-house with the agent builder tool. If the customer is running an application for which a standard agent from Sun is not available, Sun recommends using the Agent Builder tool or a professional service to help deliver an agent. Cluster Platforms also offer pre-tested, pre-configured SunPlex Systems that can reduce the time to deployment and maximize personnel productivity.

In summary, the SunPlex environment enabled by Sun Cluster 3.0 provides a highly available application service-level management platform and also provides customers with the requisite tools and technologies to quickly and easily deliver and deploy applications in a clustered environment. For more information, refer to "Deploying SunPlex Systems" -- a white paper that outlines some of the SAP and Oracle9i RAC discussion mentioned previously, and Managing Application services. The white paper is available at:
Chitra Badrinath is a Senior Product Manager for Sun Availability products and is responsible for driving the product marketing activities for Availability including Sun Cluster software. Chitra has many years of experience in product management and software sales.

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