It’s the Infrastructure, Stupid!

This article is provided by my colleague, Zev Rubenstein, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for NetApp Data Protection.


The situation: You have a highly virtualized infrastructure, with hundreds of applications running on a few physical servers, made possible by ever-increasing Virtual Machine (VM)  density. There is no single application in that infrastructure that is mission-critical. You may have deployed this on an Integrated Infrastructure such as FlexPod in order to simplify the deployment and management while reducing cost and risk.


Here’s a simple question: What if the entire infrastructure were to go down? Would your business come to a grinding halt?


If the answer to that question is “Yes”, then I hope you now understand the title of this blog. In the age of virtualization, it’s the infrastructure that’s mission critical. So, if you aren’t prepared for your entire infrastructure to become unavailable, then your business is at risk.


Typically, when the entire infrastructure becomes unavailable, it’s due to causes beyond the control of IT: natural disasters, power outage, flood, fire, telecommunication failure, etc.  Think Hurricane Sandy. Local backups and High Availability pairs won’t help if the datacenter is under 8 feet of water.


The ONLY way to achieve zero data loss and near-zero downtime is with synchronous mirroring combined with array clustering. For NetApp environments, that means MetroCluster, our solution for Continuous Availability (sometime called Business Continuity). MetroCluster writes the data simultaneously to both locations, which can be separated up to 200 km (125 mi), and handles the failover when one site becomes unavailable. It’s built-in to Data ONTAP, so it works seamlessly with our other data protection solutions (SnapVault, SnapMirror), storage efficiency, cloning, etc.


Again, while no single application may require zero data loss, if hundreds of applications suffer data loss at the same time, the impact on business will be palpable – especially today when key applications are receiving data feeds from multiple other systems. Imagine the corruption when a key application not only has lost data, but is getting incomplete data going forward!


That’s why the new FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp MetroCluster software is of significance to FlexPod customers. It’s a horizontal solution, applicable to any of the application-based FlexPod solutions, and especially important to those FlexPod solutions focused on deployment of virtualized infrastructures. The “official” Cisco Validated Design (CVD) document came out on November 18th, but it turns out we already have over 100 such infrastructures deployed globally – it’s field proven, rock solid.


In addition to MetroCluster, the FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp MetroCluster software leverages the usual goodness from Cisco and VMware. A unique component in the CVD design is the Nexus 7000’s Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV), enabling both sites to appear to be a single one.


So, think about your infrastructure and what a total outage would mean – and then check out the FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp MetroCluster software CVD.