LIfesaver Lifekeeper Image by Jason Dexter from Pixabay SIOS Technology Corp has announced the latest version of SIOS LifeKeeper for Linux, 9.8.1. The update offers a significantly improved user experience that simplifies the task of managing high availability(HA) and disaster recovery(DR) within organisations. It achieves this with a new web management console which helps manage HA clusters for SAP HANA, Oracle and other databases.

Masahiro Arai, Chief Operating Officer of SIOS Technology, emphasized the transformative potential of the latest LifeKeeper release, “The new SIOS LifeKeeper Web Management Console is the first step in realizing our vision of empowering IT administrators with simple, holistic application HA/DR. It lays the groundwork for future innovations that will dramatically improve the way companies implement and manage HA/DR.”

Enterprise Times spoke to Margaret Hoagland, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at SIOS Technology Corp and Aaron West, Solutions Engineer at SIOS, about the announcement.

Hoagland believes that IT teams want technology to help ensure that expensive architects who create the HA environments do not also have to maintain them. The systems supporting them must be simplified so that IT Generalists can deal with the day-to-day maintenance no matter how complex the environments are. This update aims to help address that.

What has changed?

I asked Hoagland how the user interface has improved with this release?

Margaret Hoagland, Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing of SIOS Technology
Margaret Hoagland, Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing of SIOS Technology

Hoagland replied, “It’s dramatically enhanced from 9.8 and all previous versions; it’s also an enhanced version with respect to competing products. We’ve designed this look and feel, the interface for customers to use, so that a generalist can manage their clustering environment much more easily. We’ve got a lot of these little cues for them to see exactly what the input is.

“If you implement your HANA application recovery kit when you’re configuring your system, it will actually validate inputs so that you can’t make mistakes. It will flag it if you’re trying to configure something that’s wildly out of spec.

“We’ve allowed you to see where you are in the configuration process. Setting up these systems can take time, and sometimes, they need to step away and come back. They know where they are. Then the just the  general structure of the hierarchy of resources, what’s dependent on what, so that they can see exactly how they’ve set up their system.”

LifeKeeper 9.8.1

LifeKeeper simplifies the monitoring and management of failover should the IT team need to perform it. It is paired with a data keeper, which is a block-based host-based replication solution which can also be used alongside HANA system replication and other replication solutions. LifeKeeper has plugin application recovery kits suitable for a wide variety of databases. There is also a generic application recovery kit that allows users to support other applications.

The supported databases include:

  • SAP S/4HANA 2023
  • WebSphere MQ v9.3.4, 9.3.3, 9.3.2
  • PostgreSQL v16
  • EnterpriseDB v15, v16
  • Fujitsu Enterprise Postgres v15, v15 SP1, v15 SP2
  • PowerGres V15
  • MariaDB v10.11, 10.3

Support for latest operating system releases:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 9.3, 8.9
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 15 SP5
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) compatible OS
    • Oracle Linux 9.3, 9.2, 8.9, 8.8
    • Rocky Linux 9.3, 9.2, 9.1, 8.9, 8.8
    • Miracle Linux 9.2, 8.8

Support operating system versions built for enhanced SAP support / SAP ARK:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.3, 9.2, 9.1, 9.0, 8.9, 8.8, 8.7
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 15 SP5

New SIOS LifeKeeper SAP HANA Application Recovery Kit

  • Red Hat Linux 8.8

The vision

Hoagland explained the vision for LifeKeeper, saying, “Our vision is to evolve Lightkeeper into a secure availability, Portal, centralise and automate the process of ensuring availability of all of the customer’s important applications so that you get a broad view of all of your clustering environment.

“It will be used to view the availability status of all the nodes, so you have more of a control panel than just a single cluster view and provide HA and DR across cloud availability zones, regions and platforms. Which, in today’s world, is a highly manual, highly scripted undertaking.”

SIOS identifies four areas where Lifekeeper will help:

  • View the availability status of all nodes in the environment
  • Provide HA/DR across cloud availability zones, regions and platforms
  • Automatically prevent or resolve errors
  • Provide remediation guidance on errors it cannot resolve

I asked Hoagland how LifeKeeper prevents and resolves errors. She answered, “We are looking through the full IT stack. So we can anticipate problems before they happen in a way that the clouds don’t.”

Aaron West explained that LifeKeeper differentiates itself by delivering an agnostic view across multiple clouds. It enables administrators to use the same view across multiple clouds rather than the AWS-specific and Azure-specific views. Having a single view makes it much easier to manage environments.

Is SIOS looking to replace the industry cloud monitoring solutions?

Hoagland replied, “That’s where we’re going. And honestly, if there is an easier way to do it baked into the cloud, we’re not going to try and compete with the cloud. We’re not a cloud. So we’re not going to go after some problem to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

What is in the new release

SIOS identified several features of the new LifeKeeper Web Management Console (LKWMC) in SIOS LifeKeeper for Linux.

  • Enhanced Ease-of-Use: System administrators gain simplified processes and intuitive interfaces, save time and reduce errors in configuration and ongoing management, particularly in cloud environments;
  • Set up Progress Tracking: Enables administrators to monitor the installation process in real-time for seamless, error-free deployment;
  • Self-Help “Information Cues”: Intuitive cues offer self-help functionality for key system features, simplifying configuration and management;
  • Self-Contained Solution: A self-contained system simplifies the deployment process and reduces maintenance overhead; Eliminates the need for Java or X Window System installation on the server;
  • Language Localization: With support initially available in both Japanese and English, language localization caters to a diverse global user base. Hoagland revealed that more languages would become available in the Fall Release.
  • Simplified Firewall Management: Requiring only 2 TCP ports enhances security without compromising accessibility;
  • Responsive Design: Seamless access and functionality across a range of devices, including tablets and smartphones, and
  • Broader Support: Support for leading platforms, operating systems, and enhanced SAP integration, for unparalleled versatility and compatibility.

Improved security

I asked West about the simplification of firewall management and how this changed. He explained, “Previously, we used a Java app, which, while incredibly powerful, did most of what this did. It wasn’t as easy to implement. It wasn’t as easy from an infrastructure point of view because there were lots of ports used in terms of transmitting data and some of those were ephemeral ports, so random pipe ports. So dropping it down to just the API and the web management console has drastically simplified that.”

“In my opinion, moving to a web management console allows us so much power to make it prettier and easier to use. Having these nice green statuses that jump out at you to say things are running properly. And equally, when something goes wrong, things can be red and jump out at you to alert you there’s a problem.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Functionality-wise, this update has not hugely changed the feature set for organisations. However, the improved usability of the new management console, as well as the increased security provided by the move from Java, make this a must-have upgrade for customers.

The new usability features of that web console and the ability to manage HA and DR across multiple industry clouds and databases also make it worthy of interest for organisations struggling to manage existing HA environments or taking up too much of the experts to do so.

SIOS LifeKeeper simplifies the management of HA and DR, and with the Windows version also shaping up to have a similar version by the end of the year, this could be a significant release for SIOS.


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