Achieving High Availability with Polycom’s RealPresence® Platform


As video conferencing becomes pervasive, users will expect instant access to the technology any time, anywhere. But, providing that high level of availability can pose challenges for IT departments.  One answer is provided by Polycom’s RealPresence® Platform which provides high availability in a virtualised environment.

Appliance and purpose-built hardware solutions utilise a combination of standard networking and proprietary techniques to achieve high availability. Purpose-built hardware, such as the RMX RealPresence® Collaboration Server uses a standard base ATCA (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture) design where redundant components such as CPUs, fans and hot-swappable components ensure high availability. Similar redundant designs can be achieved in the virtual datacentre using industry-standard blade-server devices suitable for hosting VMs.

Appliances may use hot standby/cluster solutions where the standby server is ready to take over immediately in the case of the primary server failure. The real-time information and databases are replicated to minimise the take-over time, which is usually less than two minutes. These solutions use heartbeats between the servers so they must be physically located close to each other (round trip time less than 30 ms). To achieve geographical redundancy, the Polycom RealPresence® DMA application uses super clustering for up to 5 supernodes. Data is replicated to all nodes in a many-to-many constellation. 

  • Site topology configuration
  • Dial plan
  • Registrations
  • Anything else required for smooth failover
  • No external database reliability/complexity/dependency issues

Over the last couple of years, improvements in the hypervisor technology make it possible to deploy real-time (or near real-time) applications such as video communications in a VM environment. For example, with VMware vSphere 4 and above, new capabilities such as hardware assisted virtualisation technology (VT), hardware assisted memory management, and high availability functionality can be utilised for video applications. These help with decreasing latency and improving the performance of the hypervisor.

High availability in a virtual environment can be achieved using a combination of hypervisor techniques and video vendor solutions. Customers can implement VMware vSphere® High Availability (HA) clustering which provides failover protection against hardware and operating system outages. It monitors the hosts and virtual machines to detect hardware and guest operating system failures and restarts the virtual machines on other hosts in the cluster without manual intervention when a server outage is detected.

For more information on Polycom’s video collaboration solutions, download our whitepaper Virtualisation and the Polycom RealPresence® Platform below …

 Image courtesy of Polycom