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Traditional high-availability and disaster recovery solutions require proprietary hardware, complex configurations, application-specific logic, highly skilled personnel, and a rigorous and lengthy testing process. The resulting high costs have limited their adoption to environments with the most critical applications. However, high availability and disaster recovery are becoming increasingly important in many environments that cannot bear the complexity and the expense involved. In this paper, we show that virtualization can be used to develop solutions that meet this market demand. We describe the recently released Virtual Availability Manager (VAM) product offering, which provides simplified availability solutions using Xen®-based virtualization, and which is available as part of the IBM Systems Director product. We present key design principles of VAM, explain its architecture and current capabilities, and describe the way it is being extended to enable recovery in case of disaster.
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