Summary : Sun Cluster 3.0 Vs VCS

From: Abhilash V M <>
Date: Thu Feb 13 2003 - 02:26:00 EST
Hi Managers,
Thanks a tonne to all those who responded. I got many
a responses, but most of them were interested in the
final results :-) (Like me :-)).

I'll just summarise the responses, and I'd like to add
my comments on the features discussed at the end of
each comments.

Jesus Olea Said:

>The main concern I got, is the situation when all the
>heartbeat are lost, Veritas says that his Cluster
>will have operating all node in a
>"mini-cluster" configuration, which I can't consider
>a proper solution.

>Veritas cluster 3.0 forsees this situation, as far as
>I now.

>This scenario is virtually impossible to happend, I

Yes, this is one feature of VCS called GAB disk. even
if both private interconnects fail, it will send the
broadcasts thru GAB disk allocated. (One set of blocks
for GAB and other set of blocks for VCS).

Bertrand Hutin Suggested alternate options to Sun
Cluster and VCS. Wonderful inputs. One should not
restrict himself/herself to VCS and SC, as the world
is full of solutions :-). I guess I should include
them also for my next proposal.

>for Solaris, there is also:
>Fujitsu Siemens PrimeCluster,
>Legato Application Availabity Manager.


>The big issue I have had with Sun Cluster is you have
>to get your configuration certified which can be a
>real pain if you are using something like EMC for
>storage. Veritas does not care which vendors hardware
>you are running.
>McDonald, Kelly 

A real pain indeed. But I learnt that sun started
insisting for certified clusters, as an initiative to
minimize errors. There marketshare was very minimal
when it comes to clusters, a few years back (Even now,
its less I guess comparing to VCS, but slowly picking
up). One of the major reasons why they had an ignorant
market share was because of the troubles it caused,
due to the 'unsupported configurations'. Admins,
without understanding the concepts completely, kept on
configuring clusters and they did not deliver the HA
what they were supposed to. In VCS, u cant make much
of mistakes. (In sun cluster 3.0 as well, u cant make
much of a mistake).

Veritas is more open and sun is much biased to their
own products. 

>We've used Sun Cluster 2.0, dropped it because it
>didn't work as advertised, wouldn't fail over
>consistently. Also,it is very complex and cumbersome
>to setup and maintain.

>Never used Veritas Cluster, but everything I've seen
>suggests that it is better.

>Dave Foster

A very honest, frank and valuable feedback from Dave
Foster. Sun Cluster 2.x is mere half moon cluster. On
the fly u can disable it, unlike 3.0

Finally, a very detailed mail from Octave. Thanks for
spending your valuable time to compose this and gather

>I've been dealing with this issue myself. What I've
>found to be the
>differences between the two are this:

>1. Price

>VCS is a lot cheaper than Sun Cluster. You'll also
>find that just like 
>all of Veritas's licensing, it's per machine. So if
>you have something like a 6800, you only buy 1
>license for the entire machine. With Sun Cluster,
>you would have to buy a license per domain.

>2. Functionality

>Sun Cluster has some very advanced features, like
>global file systems. However, you have to weigh those
>features against what you need. A good example for my
>company has been the planned deployment of Oracle 9i
>RAC. While you can do it with both products, we found
>that in Sun Cluster the I/O is proxied across the
>cluster, which means you have to use raw devices.
>However, in VCS DBED/AC 3.5, Veritas has is Clustered
>VxVM interfaced with Oracle's ODM directly, so you
>can use Clustered VxFS, no raw devices;) So it's
>really best to look at the details very closely in
>regards to your applications and which product
>provides the
>features to support them.

>3. Configuration

>As a general point, VCS is pretty damn simple, so
>configuration is not a big hassle. Sun Cluster can be
>easy depending on if an agent already exist for the
>application. However, in the end I still recommend
>training for both products, it's better to know as
>much as possible.

4. Storage

>VCS supports a wide range of storage products Sun,
>EMC, Hitachi, IBM, NetApp, etc. Sun Cluster only
>supports Sun StorEdge products, Hitachi 9970 and
>9980, and EMC Symetrix. The m>ost important thing
>about storage is to make sure> that you can have
>active/active links and that failover
>works properly.

>5. Management

>Sun Cluster has lots of great management tools as
>part of the SunPlex product line. A lot of the
>features integrate into Sun MC. VCS has a lot of
>extras, for example with the DBED you get gui tools
>for the
>Oracle DBA's to manage the instances and file

>6. Integration with 3rd Part products.

>Sun is starting to support a wider range of products
>ranging from Oracle, BEA Weblogic, to even some IBM
>products. Obviously, if you have tons of Sun Apps
>(Sun One Mail, Calendar, etc), Sun Cluster is
>the best choice. On the other hand, VCS supports a
>wider range of products and services. If you have to
>get a custom agent made, it is cheaper for VCS than
>for Sun Cluster. Sun tends to charge a lot from
>it's PS division. One thing to remember, if you
>really have to get a custom agent made by one of the
>vendors to be supported and it's a commercial app,
>they will reuse that agent with other customers. So
>try to leverage that against the cost of them
>writting the agent, it's their chanc>e to get another
>product on their support list. So why should you have
>to pay a lot for it? Something to think about.


Lemme share my thoughts with each point you discussed

1. Yes, overall VCS can workout cheaper than SC 3.0.
They both talk about 'license per node' but overall
expense and TCO is more in Sun Cluster 3.0 (As they u
need to buy components only from the supported list
which are expensive generally). I need to check on the
point you mentioned about Domain/Machine. In sun
cluster, u dont enter any license keys, and its only a
paper license. But VCS licenses get bound to the
node-id. And multidomain servers like 3800,4800,6800
have multiple hostids as well (an ID board will
contain four MAC addresses and 4 Hostids.) 

2. Whether to go for a global filesystem or not, is a
business call the organization has to make. Nowadays
you have fatures like HAStoragePlus bundled along with
SC as a data service, which gives you the
functionality of disk-groups failover. (With plain old
FSCK). Incase of a global filesyste, yes, there are
PxFS agents which incurr additional slowness due to
the additional layer added. (Ofcourse, nothing comes
free). But it reduces the fail over time. No need to
run fsck...and Read is as fast as normal UFS in global
filesystem. Its well suited in an environment like
'Web server' where, u have horizontally scaled
cluster, and 0 downtime due to the global filesystem
feature. But its a pain when it comes to write i/o
oriented environment (typically databases). There you
have a choice of HAStoragePlus from SC 3.0 itself.

And VxDBED works absolutely fine with SC 3.0 too. I
myself have configured quick i/o and snapshots on an
HASP setup.

3. Yes, configuration is easier in VCS. The easier the
work, the lesser the admins get paid :-)

4.Yes, as I too feel VCS is more open to accept other

5. SunPlex manager is an unsupported stuff. They
recommend u working on CLI tools only. Not sure abt

6. Sun gives a utility called SUNWscrtw (Suncluster
Resource type wizard) to make your own customized
resource types. Its so easy to manage, configure, and
work with. VCS is also easy, but you need to edit and fill in appropriate information.
Sun supplies a wide range of cluster APIs for many a
popular products in the market. These APIs thoroughly
test the functionality of the resource u r hosting.

Other than these, I too just would like to put in a
few comments.

1. VCS uses LLT (Low Latency Transport) protocol for
cluster interconnect. It works at a very low level,
and is supposed to be faster.
2. heart beat thru shared storage is another option
VCS gives, which sun does not have.
3.VCS clusters can be configured at the brick-level,
where as sun clusters can be configured only using
READYMADE Walls. (Just an analogy I used, of building
a home for safety n shelter :-))

4.SC 3.0 is full moon, embedded to the kernel, and
gives faster response to the failures.

5. GlobalFilesystem : reduced fail over time,
increased write latency.

6. SC supports both VxVM as well as SDS as the Volume
Management tool, where as Veritas insists on VxVM for
Vol mgt. (This is what I heard. Is it true ? I am not
very sure).

I am also enclosing a pdf file for those who would be
interested. I went through that, and somehow I felt
its a bit biased towards veritas. Mebbe because I am a
Sun Cluster FAN :-)

Once gain, thanks a lot for all those who have
responded !!

Wipro Ltd, Infotech Group.
Bangalore, India.
Yahoo! News - Today's headlines

[demime 0.99c.7 removed an attachment of type application/pdf which had a name of Veritas_Cluster.pdf]
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Received on Thu Feb 13 02:29:30 2003

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