by September 5, 2007 0 comments

Minimum downtime and data protection for all production servers are key
challenges most CIOs are toiling with today. That’s why, most organizations
today have implemented Disaster recovery sites to meet these challenges. In any
DR deployment, timely replication of data plays a major role. For this, what’s
required is a solution that will replicate data asynchronously and in real time.
In this article, we’ll talk about one such software called WANSync from CA. The
software provides full DR capabilities for applications like Oracle, MS
Exchange, MS SQL, IIS, and even your file server. In addition, it also supports
applications on multiple platforms like AIX, Solaris, and Red Hat, which are
either 32 or 64 bit. It basically comprises of a manager and an agent engine.
The manager application lets you manage the replication activity on the main
server, and the agent needs to be deployed on its replica at the DR site.

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Creating replication scenarios with WANSync is simple because it uses very
user-friendly wizards. In this article we’ll show how you can perform
asynchronous data replications between two sites located at different
geographical locations using WANSync. Our setup included a Windows 2003 Server
Domain Controller and two additional Windows 2003 Servers running on MS SQL and
Exchange Servers. Both servers were connected to the Domain Controller called
‘master site.’ We then created a DR site on a different network subnet. We ran
both MS SQL and Exchange Servers on this site and configured them to connect to
the Domain Controller on the master site. Here the idea was to create a replica
of the applications present on master site.

Remote Installation
wizard let’s you deploy WANSync agents to the remote applications, which
will be used for replication

Deploying WANSync
The software must be installed on your Domain Controller. You’ll need the
.NET framework on the server as a prerequisite for installing WANSync. There are
three key applications in WANSync. First is the Manager, which we already talked
about. Second is the Remote Install, which as the name suggests helps you
install agents to remote servers. Third is the CLI, which provides
administrators with a command line interface serving as an alternative to the
WANSync Manager.

The first step is to install agents on all servers at your DR site, so that
the master site data can be replicated easily across your WAN link. To do this,
launch XOSoft Remote Installer from Start>Programs of your Domain Controller.
This will start a wizard, which searches for all systems that are connected to
your Domain Controller from the master as well as the remote site. Once you get
a list of all the machines, select the ones where you want to install the agent.
These will be the servers on your remote site, which would then become replicas
of the servers running in your master site. These will be located in your left
panel, and after selecting them, they’ll move to the right panel of the
software’s window.

Please note that you do see both master and replica servers for all your
applications here. So you should see two servers running on SQL Server, another
two on Exchange, and so on, depending upon the servers you’re replicating. Click
‘Next’ and the wizard will deploy the agent engine on the servers that will
become the replicas. At the end of this, you’ll be shown a deployment summary

Initiating the Replication process
For this, run the WANSync Manager from Start>programs >CA WANSync on your
Domain Controller. The WANSync Manager will ask you to define a scenario. Select
‘new Scenario,’ and you’ll be shown several of them to choose from. Some of
these include file server, Exchange Server, IIS, MS SQL, etc. We used MS SQL
server. After selecting the scenario, you will be asked to fill-in the IP
address or host name of your master and replica servers, so that the manager can
configure the replication parameters between the two hosts. Then the wizard
searches for both hosts and also shows you the MS SQL database parameters that
will be set automatically. You can even change the parameters according to your
organization’s needs. Now click Next to save the parameters and finally Finish.
This will complete the entire scenario configuration on WANSync. On the screen
you will see a diagrammatic representation of both master and replica and also
the amount of data that has been synced between two hosts.

The WANSync Manager
shows you the entire process of replication and synchronization between the
master and replica servers. It also lets you define multiple DR scenarios

Recovering Data
Now let’s come to the fun part. Suppose your master MS SQL Server fails or
crashes due to whatever reason. You want to ensure that downtime is minimized.
All you have to do is configure the replica SQL Server as the Master server. To
do this, simply change the name of your replica SQL Server instance to the
Master SQL Server. This can be done from the SQL Enterprise Manager console of
your SQL Server. All clients will then start connecting to the replica server.
The performance here will, of course, depend upon the bandwidth available on
your WAN link.

One point to keep in mind is that the software doesn’t support automatic
failover to the replica server. It will send an alert by email if a master
application goes down, but the switchover to the replica server has to be done

For automatic failover, you need to deploy another version called WANSync
with HA. This also does load balancing between the master and replica servers
for better performance.

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