Natural disasters, DDoS attacks, and application infrastructure failures can often cause site outages—and these can lead to lost revenue, diminished customer satisfaction, and reduced user productivity.
Few organizations have the foresight to prepare for disaster by building data centers in a variety of locations. More often, organizations opt for regional secondary physical data centers, setting up their secondary sites in an active-standby configuration with a manual recovery process. Others leverage the cloud to provide a virtual, on-demand data center.
Both options can be costly, error prone, and slow if deployed haphazardly. When they're most needed, these secondary data centers can experience broken transactions between data centers; cause customer dissatisfaction with user-facing applications; and incur downtime costs that severely disrupt business and decrease profitability.
However, creating secondary data centers as part of a complete application delivery solution doesn't have to be difficult or complicated. F5 BIG-IP DNS can holistically manage data center applications and user access in an active-active configuration across multiple sites.
Application availability is vital when dealing with disaster recovery. Maintaining applications in multiple data centers can cause a whole host of issues: keeping the applications in sync, managing user connections to those applications, and ensuring everything is up and running. The challenges of this approach include:
Planning for a disaster while keeping applications up and running across sites can easily turn into a perpetual loop of fixing broken transactions, maintaining user satisfaction, and juggling downtime. Using a manual process to solve these challenges can be costly and error prone, disrupting business and decreasing profitability.
Organizations need a solution that enables them to solve these challenges by providing:
The ultimate solution would give organizations an intelligent way to manage data centers and applications under any condition or circumstance. It would be able to detect data center and application health—including internal and external web services—from a single management platform. In the event of a problem, this solution would automatically and transparently reroute users to the appropriate location, while maintaining application and service availability.
Maintaining application availability between sites and during a disaster (or even during peak loads) is not simply a matter of relying on ping, and keeping DNS records updated. It requires much more in-depth planning, as well as an application delivery architecture that can provide the following:
The BIG-IP family of Application Delivery Controller (ADC) devices provides high availability, maximum performance, and centralized management for applications running across multiple data centers. Built on F5's unified, modular, and scalable TMOS architecture, BIG-IP ADC devices ensure maximum availability by managing and distributing user application requests and application traffic according to business policies, as well as data center, network, application, and web service conditions.
BIG-IP DNS is the cornerstone of distributing applications across multiple data centers. Beyond basic DNS, BIG-IP DNS provides granular application delivery management as users and apps move between data centers under normal or adverse circumstances.
Acting as the global application traffic cop, BIG-IP DNS checks the health of the entire application infrastructure across all data centers, eliminating single points of failure and routing traffic away from poorly performing sites. By collecting performance and availability metrics from data centers through BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager(LTM), ISP connections, servers, caches, and even user content, BIG-IP DNS ensures high availability and adequate capacity.
Today's applications are highly sophisticated, and require intelligent health checking to determine their stability and availability. Instead of relying on a single health check, BIG-IP DNS aggregates multiple application monitors so state can be verified across many levels. This results in higher availability, improved reliability, and the elimination of false positives, which reduces management overhead.
BIG-IP DNS provides pre-defined, out-of-the-box health monitoring support for more than 18 different applications, including SAP, Oracle, LDAP, mySQL, and more. BIG-IP DNS performs targeted monitoring of these applications—and any application where a custom monitoring profile is attached—to accurately determine health, reduce downtime, and improve the user experience.
BIG-IP DNS tracks the health of applications that are dependent on one another, and marks all related objects down if the health check of one object in that group fails. For example, if the SharePoint web service is up and answering requests, but it can't access the SharePoint data store, BIG-IP DNS marks the SharePoint web service as down and unavailable because it can't access data— even though the web service is actually up. This enables you to align and monitor application objects according to business logic and profitability, build scalable traffic distribution policies, and better manage application dependencies.
In the event of a disaster, or when any application is moved from one data center to another, BIG-IP DNS applies this deep application monitoring to determine which data center should handle specific user requests. As apps become more diversified between multiple data centers and the cloud, the ability to correlate all application tiers into one management and distribution system will become critical.
To deliver a superior user experience, BIG-IP DNS not only monitors applications—it also tracks user state as users make requests to applications within the data center. Users can persist across applications and multiple data centers, and be transparently routed to the appropriate data center or server based on application and user state. If a user begins a session with an application in one data center, and that application is moved to another data center, session integrity is always maintained: there are no broken sessions, or lost or corrupted data. Organizations gain improved infrastructure scalability, better TCO, and reduced support calls by relying on BIG-IP DNS to manage user access to applications across multiple data centers.
BIG-IP DNS is a global DNS solution providing name services at the very edge of the application delivery network. By employing geographic location services, BIG-IP DNS can direct users to the best application delivery data center based on their physical location. Working in concert within the data center, BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager can load balance local and recursive DNS services, creating a fault-tolerant architecture from the mobile edge through to the application. BIG-IP DNS also creates a more secure DNS environment by providing protection against DNS-based attacks and by supporting DNSSEC.
With BIG-IP LTM and BIG-IP DNS, F5 provides a proven solution for managing disaster recovery, site failover, and business continuity. In addition to performing comprehensive site availability checks with BIG-IP DNS, the solution can optimize application data to maintain service levels between data centers, and with user-based connectivity. BIG-IP products provide transparent delivery of applications and web services across multiple sites, ensure global business continuity and application availability, and increase customer satisfaction by directing users to the best site on a global basis. Working as a single integrated solution, BIG-IP products also reduce management overhead by providing a holistic view into application and data center health across the entire distributed network.
Whether you are building a true disaster recovery architecture, designing multiple distributed-load data centers, or moving some application services into the cloud, BIG-IP DNS and LTM provide the application delivery management you need to keep applications secure, fast, and available. During a disaster or in the normal course of enterprise IT operations, F5 delivers user visibility and helps you maintain high availability of the applications that keep your business running.