What does "high availability" mean for database management in your organization? In a typical 9-to-5 IS shop, high availability might simply mean the database must be up and running at least 12 hours a day on normal business days. But for a large retail credit card company--which might be processing thousands of transactions per hour, 24 hours a day from customers around the globe--the very survival of the organization can depend on a truly high-availability database architecture. In this type of mission-critical application, high availability means near 24-hour-a-day functionality with maintenance or upgrade-related down time limited to a few short hours in the middle of the night.

To achieve this level of availability, database managers must employ one of several available methods of archiving or storing important data and then restoring that information in the event of a system failure. As databases grow in size and complexity, especially in mission-critical applications, the ability to store and recover becomes vitally important.

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