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WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager

Ensuring High Availability Operation of Your WhatsUp Gold Platform

Application Performance Monitor

As a WhatsUp Gold user you place immense trust in the robustness and stability of the product. This is indeed your eyes and ears into the health of monitored infrastructure and applications. If something has stopped working the way it should or if failure is impending, WhatsUp Gold solutions alert you immediately. You can start solving the problem even before affected users or your management start calling you. WhatsUp Gold prides itself in providing a solid foundation for IT management including network, server, application and flow monitoring and management.

That said there are still times when WhatsUp Gold may lose visibility into the infrastructure for reasons beyond its control. For example, your maintenance policies may require some downtime for hardware and software upgrading and patching. Your WhatsUp Gold server can lose connectivity to monitored infrastructure because of network failure in your telecom providers’ infrastructure. And potentially your WhatsUp Gold server itself may encounter performance issues, say, from memory or disk corruption or sluggish operation of the Windows system itself.

In any of the scenarios above, you run the potential risk of losing visibility to your infrastructure, even if for short periods. In many monitoring environments that is not an option as ‘dark periods’ introduce significant operational and compliance risks.

Negotiate Planned or Unplanned Downtime of your WhatsUp Gold Server without Losing Monitoring Visibility

The WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager plug-in is designed to make your network monitoring and management tasks even more resilient for high availability operation. It ensures continuous visibility into the health of the monitored infrastructure when the performance or connectivity of the primary WhatsUp Gold server is impaired. In such cases a secondary ‘failover’ server can be automatically set to take over monitoring tasks. WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager is fully integrated into the Alert Center for appropriate notifications and escalations.

With WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager you can:

  • Set up Primary and Secondary WhatsUp Gold servers for manual or automatic failover
  • Select specific event occurrences and conditions that can trigger ‘failover’ and ‘failback’
  • Ensure monitoring data protection through the support for remote database operation
  • Remotely manage the failover process from anywhere on the network
  • Report failover actions in the Alert Center for single console operations management
  • Virtually eliminate the risk of ‘dark periods’ or monitoring data loss

Key Capabilities include:

Primary and Secondary Server Configuration

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager enables the configuration of a Primary and Secondary server both running the exact same version of WhatsUp Gold. With Failover Manager in place, WhatsUp Gold continues to collect data and run critical monitoring services during planned or unplanned downtime. Planned downtime would typically involve the Primary server being taken offline for maintenance purposes. Unplanned downtime includes situations where the Primary server encounters a performance problem or loses connectivity to the monitoring database. On such occasions, a Secondary server can be set to automatically take over the performance and active monitoring tasks of the Primary server.

Powerful Options for Failover Configuration

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager supports multiple ways for ascertaining whether the Primary server is in a situation that requires triggering of failover.

First, the Primary Server monitors all of its component services to check for performance impairment. It can be automatically configured to failover for selected event occurrences like, say, the failure of the collection, discovery, or Alert Center services. In WhatsUpGold v14.2 and later, an additional layer of resiliency is added by providing the capability for automatic restart of a failed service as required. Often this may solve the problem without requiring failover.

Second, the Secondary Server monitors the heartbeat to the Primary server in two ways. It periodically checks if the Primary server is reachable and also monitors database updates to ensure that new data is being added at set intervals. If both of these conditions fail, it automatically takes over the monitoring tasks of the Primary server.

Lastly, the Secondary server can be manually set to become the Primary server – especially during planned downtime instances.

Intelligent Bi-Directional Failover and Failback

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager supports intelligent bi-directional failover and failback. Once failover is triggered, the Secondary Server takes over the tasks of the Primary server. When the Primary server comes back up, it can be set to automatically ‘failback’ from the Secondary system, which then reverts back to standby mode. If the Primary is not set to automatically take over from the Secondary, it continues as the Secondary until a failover event transfers responsibility to it – providing true bi-directional failover capability. A network administrator can also manually set the Secondary server (that has taken over as Primary) to standby mode giving control back to the original Primary server.

Consolidated Failover Alerting in Alert Center

Each Failover action generates an event message that is reported via the WhatsUp Gold Alert Center. Manual changes in Primary and Secondary server status from “Active” to “Standby” modes generate “Informational” events. Automatic changes based on failure detection by the Primary or the Secondary server and subsequent triggering of failover action generates “Error” events. This enables WhatsUp Gold administrators to have complete visibility into the IT infrastructure and the management system from a single console. Both errors and informational events are also viewable via the Failure Workspace report for customized time intervals.

Intelligent Failover between Primary and Secondary WhatsUp Gold Servers

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager provides intelligent failover capability between a set of Primary and Secondary servers running WhatsUp Gold. Key features include the following –

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager Basics

  • Supports all WhatsUp Gold versions – Standard, Premium, Distributed and MSP
  • Supports installation on all current Windows operating systems
  • Enables both automatic and manual triggering of failover from a  Primary to a Secondary server
  • Supports all Active monitors and Performance Monitors for automatic failover
  • Automatically supports Passive monitor configurations that are hosted on the same host system for failover e.g. WinEvents
  • Automatically supports Passive monitor configurations where dual message destinations can be set (e.g. flow sources configured to send traffic information to both Primary and Secondary servers)
  • Supports multiple modes of remote database operation to ensure monitoring data resiliency through failover

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager Configuration

  •  Allows set up of multiple trigger conditions for automated failover based on selective component service failures (e.g. failure of collection, discovery, Alert Center, Flow Monitor, WhatsConfigured or WhatsVirtual  services)
  • Failover can be configured to occur in three ways -
    • The Primary server initiates failover as it detects failed services and exceeds the trigger point condition
    • The Secondary server initiates failover when it fails to reach the Primary server for a specified duration and detects that database updates have also stopped
    • Manual initiation of failover by an administrator
  • Failback from the Secondary server (acting as a Primary) to the original Primary server can occur in three ways –
    • Once the Primary Server comes back up it can automatically be set to become ‘active’
    • The Secondary server may continue to act as the Primary server until a failover event transfers control back to the original Primary server
    • Manual failback to the Primary server by an administrator
  • Configurable failover trigger settings include Failure Duration (how long the Primary is unreachable by the Secondary) and Status Query Interval (duration between periodic database checks to verify that the Primary server is regularly updating data)

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager Alerting and Reporting

  • Thresholds and escalations can be configured for failover events in the WhatsUp Gold Alert Center
  • Failover Workspace Report in Alert Center shows both informational messages (for manual failover) and error messages (for automatic failover)

Ensuring Continuous Infrastructure and Application Visibility

  • Assurance of high availability and resilient infrastructure and applications monitoring
    • Automatic failover capability ensures that a secondary system is always ready to take over if the functioning of the Primary WhatsUp Gold server is impaired
  • Minimized risk of “dark periods” when there is complete lack of visibility due to failure of the monitoring system
    • Protects business operations at all times by maintaining infrastructure visibility even when the primary monitoring system is down
    • Maintains integrity of SLA (Service Level Agreement) reporting through continuous visibility of monitored infrastructure and services
  • Reduced risk of monitoring data loss
    • Continuous monitoring data may be useful for historical analysis or in cases, be mandated by regulatory requirements 
  • Efficient and highly productive operation
    • Automation and intelligent failover and failback without the need for manual intervention
  • Flexible coverage across all WhatsUp Gold component services
    • Protects against impairment to the whole WhatsUp Gold system or specific components like data collection, alerting, discovery or individual plug-in services

How does automated failover work?

Failover automation takes place using a "heartbeat" mechanism that connects the Primary and Secondary server. As long as a regular "pulse" or "heartbeat" connects the main (Primary) server to the second (Secondary) server, the latter does not initiate its systems.

The Secondary server takes over the work of the first server as soon as it detects and validates an alteration in the "heartbeat" of the first machine. Alternatively, an intelligent primary system can request the secondary server to take over its role, if it detects issues with its own functioning.

Which versions of WhatsUp Gold does Failover Manager support?

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager supports all WhatsUp Gold versions – Standard, Premium, Distributed and MSP running on all current Windows operations systems. 

It is important to note that both the Primary and Secondary machines need to be running the same version of WhatsUp Gold in order to operate properly.

Can WhatsUp Gold Failover be deployed as a Virtual Machine?

WhatsUp Gold and WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager can operate on virtual machines powered by VMware and Microsoft Virtual Server, as long as the virtual server's resources meet the WhatsUp Gold system requirements.

Which monitor types are supported by WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager?

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager supports all Active and Performance Monitors.

Passive monitors like Syslog and SNMP traps are typically not supported as they require a destination IP address to be set in the monitored device. When the system fails over from Primary to Secondary, the WhatsUp Gold server IP address changes – and it no longer receives the messages from the devices.

For Flow Monitor, the flow sources (including Flow Publisher installations) can be configured with both Primary and Secondary IP addresses so that they route flow statistics to both destinations. The Secondary merely discards the flow records until it takes over as the Primary system.

Windows Event based passive monitors are supported by Failover as they are configured on the same host system running WhatsUp Gold and Failover.

How does WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager help protect against monitoring data loss?

The WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager deployment architecture can involve two or three separate hardware or virtual machine instances in two separate configurations. This helps guard against monitoring data loss when the functioning of the Primary server is impaired.

In the first kind of deployment architecture, the monitoring database can be hosted on the Secondary server itself. Thus loss of connectivity to the Primary system does not affect the data collection and updates to the database.

Alternate deployment architecture would involve running the Primary and Secondary servers on different hardware or virtual machine instances. The database operates on a third machine instance that is remotely accessed by either the Primary or the Secondary server. More details on failover architectures