YACAST rocks around the clock with LifeKeeper

By | August 23, 2006

International music and advertising monitoring company YACAST, has selected SteelEye Technology’s LifeKeeper to continuously protect its customer centric IT and web applications in order to provide increased performance and guaranteed service levels of its media monitoring reports. LifeKeeper ensures the information reports, which are updated in real time, are available on an uninterrupted basis via a secure business-to-business internet site, WAP or PDA.

YACAST employs sophisticated technology to analyse and generate complex reports about music and advertising content from hundreds of media channels across TV and radio in every country. Its services reflect the growing importance of having an accurate understanding of audience behaviour and an increasing commercial awareness of the value of airtime.

For companies like YACAST, acceptable system downtime is not measured in hours or days, because business success and customer loyalty are measured in minutes and seconds. For YACAST downtime has simply become an unaffordable luxury.

Xavier Fabre, Project Manager of YACAST, said, “To a large extent we can only exist and be successful because there are hundreds of channels to monitor. The problem with monitoring all of these simultaneously is that, if something major happens to our database and we start missing information, there is no way of catching up. Immediately, the quality of the information we provide to our clients starts to degrade and lose accuracy, threatening the value we bring.”

In a project that took less than six weeks, YACAST’s IT team undertook to update its database to Oracle 10g running on Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and migrate from its ageing Compaq Alpha servers to new 64 bit Opteron Dual Core servers. Following five weeks of testing and optimisation working with SteelEye’s Competence Centre and certified distribution partner in France, NON STOP Systems, a two-node LifeKeeper cluster was implemented to protect the entire solution.

By using commodity servers running SteelEye’s high availability and data replication clustering solutions, YACAST determined that it could achieve between 99.99% and 99.999% uptime for business critical applications at a fraction of the cost of its previous system. To put this into perspective, it meant that YACAST could plan on between just 8 and 55 minutes of downtime for an entire year, for both planned and unplanned outages. This is because LifeKeeper enables continuous operation during planned downtime for maintenance or upgrades as well as in the event of a system failure or if an application ceases to respond.

YACAST’s Xavier Fabre said, “Over the course of a year, an hour’s downtime – especially if it’s carefully scheduled – wouldn’t cause significant inaccuracy in our statistics. The fact that any downtime we experienced would be most likely scheduled rather than random would mean we had won most of the battle already; it is unexpected outages that could really hurt us.”

SteelEye’s LifeKeeper for Linux provides YACAST with the all-important active-active configuration that ensures uptime should one of its applications begin to fail. LifeKeeper maintains high availability of clustered Linux systems by monitoring system and application health, maintaining client connectivity and providing uninterrupted data access regardless of where clients reside. In the case of a failure, LifeKeeper allows applications to failover to other active servers in the cluster. This helps LifeKeeper minimize the risk of a single point of failure and allows YACAST’s Linux systems to meet stringent availability requirements by creating a fault resilient environment.

Xavier Fabre of YACAST, sums up the benefits: “The bottom line for us is that, while the database migration itself was a complex process, it was an experience we had to go through because our existing database server had reached saturation point. By simultaneously deploying SteelEye’s LifeKeeper solution on low-cost Intel-based servers, we were able to triple the performance of the database while at the same time we actually improved the uptime of our applications because LifeKeeper enables maintenance to take place without downtime.”

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