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Summer Journal

Volume 27, Issue 3

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Achieving Continuous Availability with Active/Active Networks

Written by  Dr. BILL HIGHLEYMAN July 7, 2010

A major UK bank has experienced no major system outages in its ATM network for 15 years. How has it achieved this remarkable availability? Through the use of an active/active network architecture. Many enterprises in the financial, telecommunications, health, transportation, gaming, and other industries have reported similar experiences. Let’s look at how these continuously-available active/active networks work along with their advantages and pitfalls. What Do We Mean by Continuous Availability? First of all, we must explain what we mean by “continuous availability.” A continuously-available system is one that provides expected services to its users at all times, no matter what. No single failure will take it down. It never has to be taken out of service for planned maintenance such as upgrades. It continues to provide service even if a data center blows up. Clearly, there will be hardware faults, software bugs, operator errors, power failures, hurricanes, floods, and terrorist attacks. No system is

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