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Active-active: when downtime is not an option

Massive levels of data generated and consumed daily mean that data centre down-time is no longer an option. The solution, presented at the Huawei Cloud Congress in Shanghai yesterday, is the active-active data centre, writes LIRON SEGEV.

Traditional infrastructure is not able to cope with the massive amount of data being generated by a connected world. It is forecast that, by 2015, each individual will create an average of 1 GB of data per day.

As a result, enterprises are forced to evolve from post-processing large data sets to real-time processing of information. This transition requires an intelligent network, sophisticated Cloud storage centres and powerful Cloud computing processing power. These are the “blueprint trends” for the next-generation network architecture where no downtime is accepted.

Large organisation can have fault-tolerance solutions in case of failure. This includes having an entire standby Disaster Recovery (DR) site. However, this is usually a site that is seldom used, as the main site hardly breaks to the extreme that requires a cut-over to the DR site. IT administrators are reluctant to switch over to the DR site, as they are unsure of the performance and stability of the standby hardware. Therefore a cut-over to the DR site is rare: something which frustrates the company’s chief financial officer, who spent the IT budget on what is essentially a dud site.

To solve this wasted resource issue, Huawei Enterprise has launched the Active-Active Data Centre solution. This allows for the business to have all the advantages of a DR site but still utilising its processing power during the company’s regular operations. Therefore, the site changes from a purely “sometimes used site” to an active part of the network.

The Active-Active system writes data simultaneously to both data centres, so that the data is always in sync. So, in case of an emergency, there is no downtime nor any loss of data as the business continues to operate as normal. The Cloud-based applications are also replicated across both data centres.

Huawei has applied its years of networking and telecommunications expertise to building the system from the ground up, deploying various solutions in 170 countries.

In the carrier networking and enterprise fields, Huawei’s sales revenue grew from $21.5 billion in 2009 to $39.5 billion in 2013. This massive growth is attributed by the organisation to the large investment that it has made in its Research and Development division, which consists of 70 000 staff, making up 45% of Huawei’s total employees worldwide. Huawei’s total R&D expenses totalled $5,54 billion in 2013, resulting in filing 44 168 patents in China and 18 791 patent abroad – 90% of which are invention patents.

* Liron Segev is also known as The Techie Guy. You can read his blog at or follow him on Twitter on @Liron_Segev

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