Telus adds Avokia tools to managed hosting

Telus hopes the introduction of virtualization software to its managed hosting service will help provide its customers’ databases with an extra level of business resilience in the event of a disaster.

The company on Wednesday said it was deploying apLive, a product from Toronto-based Avokia which can create multiple replicas of a database in a virtual environment across any distance. Virtualization has already been widely touted as a solution to IT management challenges in the server, storage and application arenas. Telus said it would use the technology to offer a “pay as you grow” continuous availability service.

Shaun Greffard, Telus’s director of marketing for managed IT services, said the company sees Avokia’s apLive as a way of mitigating some of the challenges its managed service customers were experiencing with their databases.

“They seem to be most stubborn single point of failure in the system,” he said.  “Typically they have to come down for you to do maintenance and management of them.”

While Telus has explored Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) to solve those issues, Greffard pointed out that RACs are limited to one site. Avokia, in contrast, replicates multiple databases active in more than one location and has positioned itself as an alternative to the Oracle technology.

“They don’t have to fall back anymore,” he said. “Rather than high-availability clustering, which can be really expensive and failover, where you end up with hardware sitting idle . . . this means you have a group of servers that can pick up the processing load.”

Oracle’s most recent database, 10g, is designed to work in grid computing environments that could also provide more resiliency and disaster recovery protection, but Greffard said he did not expect widespread enterprise adoption of the technology.

“We’re more grid than RAC would be,” said Avokia chief executive Alan McMillan. “RAC is using older technology. It’s not as scaleable as our product.”

McMillan said replication and clustering represents a US$1 billion market opportunity worldwide, and he hopes the relationship with Telus will be just the beginning for apLive. 

“We expect it to be a model for other managed service providers around the world,” he said.

Greffard said Telus, which operates data centres in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal among other locations, has been in the managed service space since 1992. The company’s efforts became more concentrated, however, when it bought a majority stake in ISM BC, a venture it had formed in partnership with IBM. Avokia, meanwhile, is an IBM partner, which McMillan said has given the firm considerable cache in forming its early customer relationships.

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