Oracle has launched a new application designed to keep websites up and running around the clock. The software, dubbed Data Guard, is an add-on for Oracle's existing 8i and forthcoming 9i databases.
The application will help maintain a replica of a company's primary database to keep important data available and intact when a system goes down, regardless of whether the outage is caused by planned maintenance or an unexpected failure such as a natural disaster or human error.
Bob Shimp, senior director of Oracle database marketing, said Data Guard is simple to install, configure, manage and maintain.
The software includes a "graceful switchover" capability that enables companies to gradually transfer users to the duplicate database, take the primary database server offline for routine planned downtime and then transfer users back to the primary database once it is back online, he said.
In addition, Data Guard includes a monitoring and management interface that enables easy diagnosis and resolution of potential threats to normal data. It also provides a physical standby database, logical standby database, Zero Data Loss Log Transport and Data Guard Broker.
Although Data Guard for Oracle 8i will automate many of the time consuming steps that administrators must take to switch over to the standby database, only the version of Data Guard that will ship with Oracle 9i supports the maintenance of a logical standby database, i.e. one that supports both read and write access.
The application is offered at no charge to Oracle 8i users aside from the licence fee for the backup database. Oracle's target date for releasing 9i is 30 June.
Carl Olofson, an analyst at IDC, explained that high availability is now an enterprise-wide concern. "The need for a more far-reaching data protection methodology is increasingly urgent to ensure that critical data is available and has integrity," he said.
He added that because of its system-level approach to the problem, Data Guard attacks the broader challenge of universal data protection "rather than just focusing on a one-off point solution for individual systems".
A recent study by Standish Group International found that one minute of system downtime can cost a company anywhere from $2500 to $7800 per minute.
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