If one node fails, the other nodes can still access the shared disks. When configured with suitable software, mission-critical applications can continue running by transferring their execution to a standby node in the cluster. This ability to provide continuous uninterrupted service by switching to redundant hardware is commonly termed failover.
Failover is transparent to users and high-level applications for database and file-sharing. You must configure cluster management software, such as VCS, to monitor systems and services, and to restart applications on another node in the event of either hardware or software failure. VCS also allows you to perform general administration tasks such as making nodes join or leave a cluster.
Clusters can reduce contention for system resources by performing activities such as backup, decision support and report generation on the more lightly loaded nodes of the cluster. This allows businesses to derive enhanced value from their investment in cluster systems.
The CVM allows up to 32 nodes in a cluster to simultaneously access and manage a set of disks under VxVM control (VM disks). The same logical view of disk configuration and any changes to this is available on all the nodes. When the cluster functionality is enabled, all the nodes in the cluster can share VxVM objects. This chapter discusses the cluster functionality that is provided with VxVM.