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Disaster recovery: The SIOS Technology Approach Explained by Margaret Hoagland

Disaster recovery: The SIOS Technology Approach Explained by Margaret Hoagland

Roberto Popolizio
Big tech companies have suffered huge losses caused by unpredicted disasters during the years:
  • Facebook suffered a 5.5 hours outage in 2021, that resulted in a $60m loss and 5% drop of their share value
  • Amazon lost an average of 1.2m per minute during the 2018 Prime day. Their servers crashed due to the extreme volumes of traffic received after an incredibly successful promo campaign.
  • In 2017, hundreds of flights worldwide were canceled after one power supply was switched off by mistake in British Airways datacenters.
The list goes on, but those examples are enough to reiterate the importance of having a disaster recovery system that is fast, effective, and automated. SIOS is one of the few companies with a 20-years success record in providing availability and disaster recovery.

Website Planet had the chance to sit down with Margaret Hoagland, VP of Global Sales & Marketing at SIOS Technology, to learn about how their unique approach to disaster recovery protects critical applications from downtimes, and how they plan to keep up with this increasing challenge of keeping data available at all times.

Let’s introduce SIOS Technology to our audience. What is it and how does it work?

For more than 20 years SIOS Technology has been providing availability and disaster recovery software for essential applications, such as SAP, SAP HANA, SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase from downtime and disasters.

We support enterprises running mission critical applications that can’t fail, like security video management, manufacturing, financial services, healthcare. They use SIOS products to protect applications and databases running on Windows or major Linux distributions – SUSE Linux, Red Hat Linux, Oracle Linux, Rocky Linux.

They need to keep their applications up and running through faults, failures, and disasters at all times. They must be able to do this on premises, in the cloud or in hybrid clouds.

We solve that problem by setting up two or more servers in two different locations (on premises or in different cloud availability zones or regions). Your application runs on one of them. Whenever we detect a problem, all the system operations are automatically transferred to the other server. This way the system will simply come back online and carry on working with no loss of data.

From a perspective based on recovery time (how fast can you get back online) and recovery point (how much data did you lose in that time frame), we don’t lose any data, and it just takes a couple of minutes to move over to the other system.

All things considered, if you count all the time your application was down, it will be less than ~5 minutes a year, or 99.99% availability assurance – the high availability standard of Service Level Availability (SLA).

What’s unique about the SIOS approach to disaster recovery?

SIOS products are designed to remove the complexity from high availability and provide expertise to eliminate common sources of human error

To keep an application or database running, the rest of the IT infrastructure has to be running, must be compatible, and accessible. Every application has its own set of rules about the environment it needs to run in.

Think about what it takes to keep an application up and running, especially a complicated one like SAP, for example – You may have one part that’s doing inventory control, one part that’s taking four different customers, another one managing the manufacturing process, and so on.

They all are linked together, so when that system goes down, everything fails. That results in a lot of employees getting paid to do nothing, customers that can’t place orders, shipments that can’t go out.

That is why moving the entire operations to another server is a great solution, but also a very complex undertaking. You have all the parts that keep an application running, the network, the storage, the hardware, the CPU, all the software, the operating system… Everything has to be up and running, compatible, and started up in the right order.

Most disaster recovery solutions require customers to manually script a lot of the steps required for restoring operations if something fails.

We instead have dedicated plugins for specific applications, and one that’s generic, so, if you have an application that we haven’t a plugin for yet, we can very easily create one for you. You plug that in, and our system takes care of all of that.

We are the only solution that allows the same clustering capability for both Windows and Linux operating systems.

What kind of support and resources do you provide to your users?

We provide a variety of services to support customers from their first inquiry and POC through their ongoing customer relationship as their company grows. We offer expert professional services to help customers at the level they need – trainingmrun books, health checks, installation services, standby engineering services to full white glove service.

And most importantly, we offer the best support team in the industry. They’ve won numerous awards for support excellence. They are located in our Columbia, SC office alongside our engineering team. They famously never just say “that’s not our product – call x vendor”. They work with customers to get their issues resolved quickly and expertly and our customers appreciate it.

At the time of speaking we have a 97% customer satisfaction rating.

4 ways SIOS Technology’s solutions stand out

  1. It works out of the box
  2. Support staff can inform and answer questions at a level of technical depth that few other companies are able to
  3. MSPs and other organizations with applications running on several different OS’s don’t have to change processes or procedures – they just use SIOS products for all of them
  4. Our application recovery kits are the plugin components that automate configuration and ensure failovers happen in compliance with application vendor best practices

How did it all start, and what are your achievements to this day?

In 1999, NCR created LifeKeeper NT to protect applications running on Windows NT. The company was then bought from NCR by SteelEye Technology and released LifeKeeper on Linux and we started helping companies protect their critical applications from downtime and disasters by providing reliable, easy-to-manage, clustering software and expert consulting services.

In 2006, SIOS Technology Inc., acquired SteelEye Technology and created SIOS Technology Corp.based in San Mateo, California.

Since then, we have stayed on the forefront of HA/DR as IT infrastructures have evolved from on-premises data centers into complex combinations of on-prem, cloud, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud environments.

We have earned a reputation as the industry’s leading provider of high availability and disaster recovery protection for mission-critical applications, ERPs, and databases.

Our unique application recovery kits provide application-specific intelligence and time-saving automation that ensure failovers are efficient, reliable and maintain application best practices. Most recently, our automated support for HANA in multitarget clustering environments delivers the most comprehensive DR solution in the industry.

Today we have more than 80,000 licenses installed globally, protecting applications for companies in a broad range of industries.

What are the major factors of SIOS success over the years?

Our customer-first passion, deep expertise, and commitment to integrity, empower enterprise organizations with the most reliable, comprehensive high availability and disaster recovery solutions in the industry.

Some of our competitors are primarily focused on selling a single operating system, so HA is just an add-on. Others are mega companies that provide support in an impersonal, formulaic process, whereas our support team answers the phone quickly, and addresses your question accurately.

“In our past experience, we always used hardware solutions for high availability… I had a lot of in-depth questions for the SIOS representative about using software for HA, and SIOS provided accurate, complete answers, which built my trust in SIOS LifeKeeper… We were able to customize and develop LifeKeeper to meet our requirements, and SIOS was able to respond to all of our requests,”

Mr. Iwasaki from Mitsubishi

“If it were not for SIOS, we might not have been able to migrate our environment to the cloud.”

Peter Singer, Director Information Technology at Lifehouse.

What challenges do you see in the future of your industry?

Everyone needs everything all the time. In order to achieve that we will require more physical resources and increased budgets, which are shrinking by the day especially for small and medium-sized businesses.

SIOS will keep focusing on making the entire process as automated and fast as possible. That is the only way we can really minimize downtimes, while remaining affordable and sustainable.

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