7 Replies Latest reply on Apr 12, 2016 10:52 AM by TimAnderson

    Standby server - experience

    siplus

      Hello everybody.

       

      I'm interested in the experience gathered by those who configured a Standby server with FM Server 14.

       

      - Did you notice a difference in performance ?

      - Did you have the opportunity to do a switchover ?

      - Did you have the opportunity to do a failover ?

       

      Please feel free to add any pertinent comments.

      Thank you.

        • 1. Re: Standby server - experience
          bigtom

          I am hoping to hear about this as well. I asked about it before but did not really get any responses. I was especially interest to see if anyone had automated Failover. Still have yet to try it.

          • 2. Re: Standby server - experience
            wimdecorte

            I've been running a few since it came out.  So far I never had to do a failover or switchover "in anger" but I've done many as part of the regular testing and maintenance.  Well mostly swichovers.  Failovers mean that you'd have to re-setup the mechanism and I've done enough testing on that to know it works but I won't "try" that on production servers unless it is needed for real.

             

            Works as expected.

             

            One of the things that adds a bit of work: OS updates: those have to be kept in sync so they need to happen pretty much at the same time.  Not every OS update will necessarily break the standby mechanism but FMI has warned for that and I am paranoid so I do them at the same time

             

            As to automating failover: I don't see much of a point there; as with any crash I would want to check out the circumstances first and understand what happened before taking any action.

            If you wanted to automate it there would be one hurdle: there is virtually nothing about the primary-to-standby syncing in the FMS logs so figuring out when the syncing has stopped and when you should do the failover is not clear.  You would have to do a combination of regular server monitoring to see if your primary is still up and checking folder date/times on the standby.

             

            The actual failover is dead simple to automate; it's just a few fmsadmin command lines:

            1) break the standby connection

            2) open the files

            • 3. Re: Standby server - experience
              worldcloud

              We have 'played' with these a fair amount, and have been playing with PowerShell scripts to automate the process. I understand that Wim is a very experienced developer and doesn't have an issue in the CDI, but as a hoster we are a bit concerned at handing a 'loaded gun' to our users.

               

              We also like the ability to have 'testable scripts'. In middle of an emergency is a bad time to make a user type FMSADMIN commands, as stress has a way to create mistakes. Tested scripts can avoid this 'unknown' factor. These scripts are also part of a monitoring tool, so the thinking is that if a FMS server goes down- we can automate the failover transfer.

               

              It's a work 'in progress' but would welcome feedback...

               

              ---

               

              As you are doing your homework, look into the High Availability options in VMware. This is the solution we have been using for years and in some ways, it is more robust and complete...

              • 4. Re: Standby server - experience
                wimdecorte

                worldcloud wrote:

                 

                We also like the ability to have 'testable scripts'. In middle of an emergency is a bad time to make a user type FMSADMIN commands, as stress has a way to create mistakes. Tested scripts can avoid this 'unknown' factor. These scripts are also part of a monitoring tool, so the thinking is that if a FMS server goes down- we can automate the failover transfer.

                 

                 

                "script" as in written procedure?  Absolutely agreed.  When things go wrong you do not want to rely on memory to get something right; if you have a written procedure then it takes a lot of the stress away.  And it gives you a document that you can test with yearly / twice a hear / ... so that the right people will actually already have practiced it before it becomes necessary.  And the practice sessions give you a chance to update and fine-tune the document.

                • 5. Re: Standby server - experience
                  TimAnderson

                  Can you confirm that there are no issues running FMS14  on VMware with High Availability? I have a corporate client who would like to do this but I do not know enough about it to advise

                   

                  Thanks

                   

                  Tim

                  • 6. Re: Standby server - experience
                    worldcloud

                    we host with VMWare HA on a daily basis with multiple versions of FileMaker, including FMS 14.

                     

                    ha is an automatic fail-over solution as opposed to FMS standby server.

                     

                    It is a very solid solution, not to mention in 'everyday' situations you also get v-Motion which will allow you to load balance and move servers without interrupting users.

                    • 7. Re: Standby server - experience
                      TimAnderson

                      Thank you very much, much appreciated