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Safer failover testing procedures for the data center
This article is part of the Virtual Data Center issue of December 2010, Vol. 29
Some data center pros have unorthodox ways of checking fault tolerance. For example, I asked a friend who is a network administrator for a medium-sized organization about his failover testing procedures. He said that at random times, he walks through the data center and yanks a power cord out of the back of a random server or switch. That way, he not only tests the resiliency of the failover infrastructure but also his staff’s ability to notice that a failover has occurred and to fix the problem. Even though this method seems to work for my friend, disconnecting random power cords is probably not the best failover testing method in a production environment. Although that technique might allow you to find out how well your fault-tolerant solutions work, it also poses a tremendous amount of risk because it will result in an outage unless all fault-tolerant mechanisms are working perfectly. Another problem with yanking a power cord out of a cluster node is that it simulates only one type of failure. A better approach is to design a...
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Features in this issue
Storage requirements can make virtualization storage management tricky, but thin provisioning provides a flexible way to allocate storage space.
Cloud computing is poised to reap the benefits of open source tools. Our expert describes five tools, including KVM, Eucalyptus and Deltacloud, to keep an eye on.
Haphazard failover testing can be dangerous, but you can minimize the potential risk of data loss or corruption by following a few straightforward procedures.