SUMMARY: Do you have any expierence with OpenVision*HA or Qualix First Watch SW???

From: Franz Heinrich (
Date: Fri Sep 15 1995 - 04:27:28 CDT

Hi Managers,

 a long time ago I wrote following question:

> Hi Sun Managers,
> we have yet an normal High Availibility System with to S2000, FDDI and a
> RAID System. Today we are using the old SUN HighAvailibility 2.0 Software.
> Perphaps it isn't the best, but it does what we want. Now we have to change
> the whole configuration and we want to use two SparcStorageArrays. So we are
> looking for a HA Software, which can handle SparcStorageArrays. We found two
> Vendors: OpenVision (OpenV*High Availability 1.2.5) and Qualix (FirstWatch).
> We tested OpenV*High Availability 1.2.5, but we got some problems and we
> are not very happy about this problems (FDDI timing problems during a "take over"
> and some more). Now we want to test the FirstWatch Software. Perhaps we can
> solve our problems.
> But I'm sure there are many Sun Managers, who are using these software packages
> and can tell me, whether they are happy with it or not??
> Please help us, we want to use a Software to get HighAvailability and no one,
> which brings LowAvailability.
> Franz Heinrich
> PRO sieben TV Gmbh Tel.: +49 89 95001 687
> Bahnhofstr. 28 email:
> 85767 Unterfoerhring

During the long time I tested several HA software and I got a few answers from sun-managers (look at the end
of this mail). Here a very small summaries of my expierence during my tests.

OpenVision*HighAvailabilty 1.2.5:
  After our first bad expierence we got a good support from OpenVision Germany and a lot of problems could
  be solved. At the end we had a runable configuration.

Tidalwave/Qualix FirstWatch 2.1.1:
  A good documentation and a lot of information about possible problems with some hardware configuration
  made it easy to configure the software. Thanks to the Qualix Group for the support during evaluation.

Wizard Watchdog Server Backup 1.0.4:
  A interesting product from a german company (Wizard Software Engineering GmbH), but today there is no
  special support for the Veritas Volume Manager.

There are serveral more highavailability solutions (for example Sun's new Software) but we had no time to
test it. We decided to use FirstWatch, because we think it is the best solution for our application and
configuration. But I think every one has to check serveral high availability packages to get the right
software for his own configuration. And don't think a HA package is "plug and play". You have to configure
it and test it in order to get what you want.

Thanks a lot to all, who replied to my question.

You ought to request customer support from us. We really do
want to help. Please contact our German office at

   Tel: 0611 700 427
   Fax: 0611 700 475

   OpenVision Software Vertriebs GmbH
   Kreuzberger Ring 44a
   65205 Wiesbaden

Bruce Parker
Manager, OpenV*High Availability Development OpenVision Technologies, Inc.
(510) 426-3660 7133 Koll Center Parkway Pleasanton, CA 94566
I have worked with a large financial company on wall street evaluating
both prodcuts and have found Qualix's First Watch to be superior.
In: Installation

Both products were tested on SOlaris 2.3 but we were using ethernet for
private and public networks. (Jim Leahy)
We have put in HA sites using both software packages, and they have
all had some complications.
The programmers had to get quite creative.

FDDI problems during a takeover are common, and will occur with almost
any product unless you get VERY clever about how it is done.
(FDDI nodes know the address of their neighbors - when a node changes
its address, other nodes get confused).

It may be possible to set up a secondary address for the interface
without changing its hardware address using
        ifconfig interface:1 takeover_address up
but I haven't seen it used yet for takeover .
It doesn't seem to be documented (at least for 2.3) but you can assign
more than one address to an interface this way. When you want to go
back to just the normal single address
        ifconfig interface:1 down

A big problem with OV and Firstwatch products is that you have to do
a LOT of script writing and adjustments by yourself.

Sun is announcing (announced yesterday?) new HA cluster configurations.
Existing systems (with certain characteristics, one of which is
SparcStorage Arrays) can be upgraded to the new cluster configs.

The good part is that the HA software comes pre-configured to monitor
all sorts of system status and do the failover automatically.
It is already set up to do NFS and several database HA situations.

If what they say is true, and if your system complies with the
hardware requirements, it could save you a lot of work, and give you
a Sun-Supported solution. They are VERY serious about making sure that
the sites that get these HA configs are properly set up,
and that the local suppport staff (including Sun) are trained and able to
make the HA system a success.
They want these Sun HA clusters to be taken seriously and to be
successful in the marketplace. They know that better-than-normal
support is essential to this.

Find out more from your Sun Sales unit.
It could be worth your while - setting up your own system without
any formal support plan from the vendor can be expensive and risky
for any system important enough to need HA.

    Michael Shon (716) 385-5065 michael.shon@East.Sun.COM

    Any information or views presented here derive from my own experience,
    and are definitely NOT official Sun recommendations or policies.

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