Protecting Your Virtualized Applications

More and more, Wonderware customers are moving their applications to virtualized environments leveraging VMware and Hyper V to consolidate applications for easier management and reduced hardware needs. The power of these platforms simplify the management of software applications but introduce the added risk of having application downtime across multiple applications in the event of any sort of hardware issue. To mitigate that risk, customers look to implement high availability or fault tolerant solutions using the built-in capabilities of VMware and Hyper V. These new architectures can provide some level of protection, but can be highly complex to engineer and maintain and in the end, can often fail to provide the protection needed to eliminate downtime of critical applications.

Implementing fault tolerant or high availability solutions with VMWare or Hyper V requires a significant hardware and software investment. These solutions require:

  • Two robust servers
  • Redundant ethernet switches connecting the servers
  • Multiple copies of operating system and application licenses
  • A storage area network device
  • For VMware, a copy of VMware Essentials Plus
  • Specialized IT skills to set up and maintain the system

When all of this is done, the user has either a highly available system or a fault tolerant system – but with limitations.

  • For the HA version of this solution, users are guaranteed at least minutes of downtime during failover and during this time, all in-flight data will be lost.
  • FT (fault tolerant) capability can be implemented with VMware (not available with Hyper V) but VMware FT can only support a single core per VM – not feasible for most software applications in the manufacturing space.
  • Expensive, complicated and with limitations that can be problematic for applications in the manufacturing and industrial space.

For that reason, more and more Wonderware North customers are leveraging fault tolerant servers from Stratus. Stratus servers have none of the above limitations and guarantee server uptime to be 99.999%. Using a Stratus Server, customers can:

  • Leverage common virtualization capabilities using VMware or Hyper V.
  • Have a fault tolerant platform across all virtual machines with near 100% uptime – guaranteed.
  • Leverage a single Stratus server (which looks to the outside world to be a standard DELL or HP, etc. equivalent server platform) to accomplish complete fault tolerance.
  • Purchase only a single set of operating system and application licenses to be compliant.
  • Implement a Stratus solution without the need of any specialized IT skills.
  • Achieve a server life >15 years (typical for a Stratus server), typically traditional servers are replaced every 3-5 years.
  • Have predictive hardware management.
  • Hot swap components, including ½ the server.
  • Have all applications benefit from fault-tolerance (Eliminates midnight or weekend trips to the plant).
  • Have simplified backups – virtual images are easy to transfer between computers.

If you are implementing a virtualized environment, please reach out to Wonderware North to discuss your requirements and architecture needs. Our Application Consultants have significant experience in deploying Wonderware Solutions leveraging VMware and Hyper V and can discuss the pros and cons of various architectures to help you achieve your goals.

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