Symantec looks to add application HA to VMware

Symantec AppplicationHA (high availability) adds support for VMware Site Recovery Manager in its next step to add application HA to VMware HA.

Symantec Corp. today upgraded its ApplicationHA (high availability) software for applications running with VMware virtualized servers. ApplicationHA 5.1SP2 adds integration with VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM), and more monitoring and management capabilities.

Symantec first launched ApplicationHA last August in partnership with VMware. ApplicationHA integrates with VMware HA to help make virtual machines application-aware and automate recovery from server failures.

VMware HA monitors virtual machines and infrastructure problems, and lets users recover from server failures. However, VMware HA does not know when applications go down. After a recovery, virtual machines will run but applications remain down.

Symantec’s first version of ApplicationHA focused on high availability on a local level while support for SRM broadens the capability for disaster recovery, said Ashish Nadkarni, senior analyst at Taneja Group.

“The problem they solve is that up until to now, there was no intelligence to manage applications on a virtual machine,” he said. “Now, ApplicationHA gives visibility to the local site and gives visibility from a disaster recovery perspective.”

ApplicationHA sits on the virtual machine and communicates with the virtual infrastructure. “That’s important because that link was missing,” Nadkarni said.

SRM provides automated failover of virtual environments for DR. It works with array-based replication products such as EMC Corp.’s Symmetrix SRDF, NetApp’s SnapMirror and Hitachi’s TrueCopy.

ApplicationHA is based on Veritas Cluster Server and shows up as a tab within VMware’s vCenter. ApplicationHA gives administrators insight into the status and configuration of clusters, hosts, virtual machines, storage and the guest operating system.

During disasters and disaster recovery tests, ApplicationHA establishes communication with VMware HA at the recovery site. If there is a problem with an application, ApplicationHA will try to restart the app. If that doesn’t work, it will trigger VMware HA to restart the virtual machine.

When SRM fails over the virtual machine from the primary site to the disaster recovery site, ApplicationHA continues to monitor the health of the applications after recovery and re-establishes communications with VMware HA. ApplicationHA also ensures the application components come back on line in the right sequence during recovery and also during disaster recovery testing.

“VMware HA focuses on the problem of protecting the infrastructure, the operating system and the ESX server,” said Don Angspatt, Symantec’s vice president of product management. “Virtual machines can’t identify when the application is down. vCenter and VMware have no knowledge the application is down but it [VMware] still moves it [the application] from virtual machine to virtual machine.”

Symantec ApplicationHA costs $350 per virtual machine.

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