Microsoft buys Valence to boost NT clustering

Microsoft buys Valence to boost NT clustering

Looking to beef up Windows NT's availability and clustering services, Microsoft this week announced the acquisition of Valence Research, a company that develops load-balancing and fault-tolerance software for the server operating system.

Valence sells Convoy Cluster Software, which provides load-balancing services for Windows NT over TCP/IP. The software improves performance by better distributing an application's workload across two or more servers set up in a cluster, officials said.

Convoy Cluster Software will be renamed Windows NT Load Balancing Service and will be incorporated into Windows NT Enterprise Version's Cluster Server. Microsoft also plans to integrate the load-balancing capabilities into Exchange Server and Proxy Server, as well as low-level products including Internet Information Server, Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol Servers, and Microsoft Internet Authentication Service.

The deal allows Microsoft to confront an oft-heard criticism of NT and provides a perfect fit for the company's Cluster Server offering, said Ed Muth, group product manager for enterprise marketing at Microsoft.

"This addresses an area that is not addressed in NT: automatic load-balancing," Muth said. "This technology is complementary to the things we have addressed, transaction integrity and database fail-over.

Muth said Microsoft would make an announcement on pricing and packaging later this year.

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