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Carbonite Availability for Actian PSQL Replication and DR

Protecting your mission-critical database is one of the most important tasks that a system administrator needs to master. The first level of protection is the venerable backup. You can do backups during downtime, or you can use Continuous Operations Mode, as explained in our most popular white paper. For smaller users of non-critical databases, periodic backups may provide all of the protection that your systems require.

However, for many organizations, the need for a higher level of protection is clear. Do you have enough downtime available to perform a complete backup every night? Is your database small enough to back up easily using standard backup techniques? Can you afford to lose a day's worth of database changes if a failure occurred? If you cannot say YES to all of these questions, then the Availability data replication solution is for you.

In short, Carbonite Availability captures data changes on the source server in real time (commonly called continuous data protection, or CDP), then it provides continuous (near real-time) replication of that data to a hot stand-by server, providing a very low Recovery Point Objective (RPO). Because the data is replicated in the exact order in which it was written on the source server, the target server's PSQL database will always be crash consistent, and you'll have a single point-in-time replica of your source data on the target server at all times. Many competing solutions offer file-based replication, which can cause massive data loss or relational integrity issues!

In the event of a system failure, the stand-by server is immediately ready to stand in for the primary server and take over all operations -- users only need to restart their application. This provides a very low Recovery Time Objective (RTO) as well. (Depending on the exact configuration, the OS and database may need to be separately licensed, and for off-site or cloud-based stand-by solutions, some additional application configuration changes may be required as well.)

Availability offer true "any-to-any" capability -- meaning that you can go from physical server to another physical server, physical to virtual, virtual to virtual server, virtual to physical, physical to cloud, cloud to virtual, and so on. This gives you the ability to host your backup data center internally, on a small virtual server host, or up in a cloud-based server environment (which can provide additional replication capabilities).

The key to getting this all working correctly is to have a solid understanding of the software running within the environment. Goldstar Software, one of the leading PSQL support organizations in the world, understands the special needs of PSQL databases and can ensure that Availability is configured correctly. Goldstar Software even includes free configuration time with each Availability license purchased through us, so that we can ensure that your system is configured correctly and that your PSQL database is protected. We also include basic system administrator training, so that you can quickly get comfortable with your disaster-recovery solution and sleep easier at night!

Here are a few other use cases that we have already implemented for our customers:

  • Replicate a single physical server with 2TB of PSQL data to a second physical server in a different closet across campus to provide protection from fire, flood, or theft.
  • Replicate multiple physical servers to a virtual server host, reducing the investment in DR hardware.
  • Replicate a physical server to a second physical server on site for high-level fault tolerance, then replicate to an off-site virtual server across a WAN link for complete data center redundancy.
  • Replicate from a Windows Server 2008 box running PSQL v10 to a Windows Server 2012 box running PSQL v11 in a new data center 1000 miles away. This customer effectively upgraded data centers, server operating systems, and PSQL database version in one operation -- requiring less than 5 minutes of system downtime!

Do you have any other configurations you want to set up? Let us know what YOU want to do, and we'll work with you to build a configuration that takes care of your data protection needs.

Data Sheets and Success Stories

Availability Versions

Due to the changing architecture within Windows, getting the right version of Availability is sometimes a challenge. At this time, the following versions can be considered:

  • v7.1: This is the last version which supports Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 (not R2). The first two releases in this version (v7.1.0 and v7.1.1) also still had support for the Resilient File System (ReFS), available in Windows Server 2012 and newer. ReFS support has been dropped from newer versions, but it may come back in the future.
  • v8.0: This version requires Windows Server 2008 R2 or above, but does NOT support Windows Server 2016. This is the last version that uses the old licensing model, where each server in the replication environment must be licensed.
  • v8.1: Released in August 2017, this newest release also requires Windows Server 2008 R2 or above, but it does include 2016 support, so this is expected to completely supplant the v8.0 release. A big change to the 8.1 is in the license model -- as only the SOURCE server will now need to be licensed, and all target servers will no longer require a license, which can substantially reduce license costs for many sites.

Availability Pricing

What does this great protection actually cost? This can also get a bit confusing. Availability pricing for v8.0 and older is dependent on the OS platform (Virtual, Windows Standard, Windows Enterprise, or Windows Datacenter) you are protecting. Pricing for this solution starts under $1000/server, depending on the platform. With Availability 8.0 and older, each server (source and target) needs to be licensed. With the release of v8.1, Carbonite has released an entirely new pricing model. Availability licenses are now only required for the SOURCE server, and the target server(s) do not need to be licensed at all. They have also eliminated separate SKUs for Linux and Windows servers, combining everything into a single Virtual SKU (List $1095) and a single Physical SKU (List $6450).

To avoid any confusion, your best bet is to contact Goldstar Software directly, and we'll review your specific needs and custom-tailor a solution and pricing that fits your exact situation.

Other Resources

With the purchase of Double-Take by Carbonite, additional information about the products is currently spread out over several different locations. We have provided these links for your convenience, but please note that they will likely be changing as additional changes are made:

  • Video Library: This link takes you to the Carbonite video library, providing instructional and how-to videos about the product.
  • Documentation Library: This link takes you to the Carbonite Documentation library, providing specific documentation in both PDF and HTML formats for each specific release.
  • Support Central: This link takes you to the Support Central web site, a place to find downloads for each product, as well as technical support and the online knowledgebase.

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