Cluster servers are a good way to ensure round-the-clock availability of your applications. They minimize downtimes and recover from downtimes fast, offering business continuity. Server clustering seems to be an ideal solution rescuing us from the problems of the single server. However, clustering has its limitations. Let me explain.
Clustering of servers require you to own and maintain multiple servers. Thus, your infrastructure increases dramatically, adding to your maintenance overheads. Not only do you have to bear the additional hardware cost, you have to plan on taking care of the infrastructure as well.
You cannot cluster all types of servers. This means you cannot just work with the servers you currently own. You need to invest in more servers that are compatible with clustering. There is another glitch. Many applications are also not supported by the clustering design, thereby beating the whole purpose of keeping them available.
Now, what holds a cluster of servers together? A design. Some cluster designs are too complicated to implement and maintain. They may not be that cost-effective either.
Another disadvantage with cluster servers is that it does not ensure data security. You have to take measures to ensure the safety of your data.
Clustering is definitely a good idea, but only if you have the following:
- The money to invest in clustering
- The willingness and ability to manage things like data security on your own
- Applications that are supported by clustering design
Make sure you understand the limitations of cluster servers before you decide to go for clustering.