Compaq beefs up its clustering product

Compaq beefs up its clustering product

Compaq has added some muscle to its Windows NT-based clustering offerings, unveiling last week a two-node cluster solution intended to compete against a host of Unix-based offerings now deployed in many corporations.

The Compaq ProLiant Cluster HA/F500 will be aimed at corporate customers who are planning to use or are currently using mission-critical applications involving enterprise resource planning and online transaction processing, e-mailing, and Web serving, company officials said.

"With this announcement we are moving into position with a more data centre-ready implementation that has traditionally been dominated by Unix offerings out there,'' said Vince Gayman, director of marketing for Compaq's high-availability solutions.

Gayman said the announcement is essentially a merging of Compaq's four-processor Xeon-based servers from its 5500, 6000, 6500, and 7000 lines, its existing Fibre Channel Storage units, and the clustering version of Microsoft's Windows NT Enterprise Edition.

Compaq, however, has added some value to Microsoft's software with its own underlying code that ensures better redundancy, officials said.

"The software from Microsoft is the standard Enterprise NT with two-node failure.

"Where we have extended the functionality beyond what you get from Microsoft is in the base level of underlying software to handle the redundancy of the Fibre Channel loop,'' Gayman said.

Later this quarter, Compaq will deliver cluster management software that allows corporate users to better manage clusters remotely. Existing users will be able to buy the software as an upgrade, Gayman said.

Automatic recovery

The new clustering system is designed to eliminate single points of failure and can automatically detect and recover from hardware-based failures, as well as those in operating systems and applications, Gayman explained. The system is most effective when used in a dual-loop connection between the server and the storage subsystem, he said.

The ProLiant servers, thanks to the Fibre Channel storage interconnects, can also serve to permit static load balancing, performance optimisation, and automated fail-over in the case of a host-based adapter or Fibre Channel link failure, a company spokesperson said.

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