Have you heard about the REMUS project? It’s a fantastic piece of code maintaining an exact copy of your XEN virtual machines on a backup host.
Better yet: it’s now incorporated into the XEN hypervisor and expected in the next major release!
“The Remus project has just been incorporated into the Xen hypervisor. Developed at the University of British Columbia, Remus provides a thin layer that continuously replicates a running virtual machine onto a second physical host. Remus requires no modifications to the OS or applications within the protected VM: on failure, Remus activates the replica on the second host, and the VM simply picks up where the original system died. Open TCP connections remain intact, and applications continue to run unaware of the failure. It’s pretty fun to yank the plug out on your web server and see everything continue to tick along. This sort of HA has traditionally required either really expensive hardware, or very complex and invasive modifications to applications and OSes.”