Vendor plans a Windows marathon

Marathon Technologies is trying to make its mark in the Asian region by promoting fault-tolerant computing on the Windows platform.

Like its competitor Stratus Technologies Inc., which recently launched its Windows-based offerings in Singapore, Marathon Technologies is also pushing forward the need for disaster planning and business continuity by stressing the high cost of computing downtime.

The company cites statistics from Gartner Inc. that puts the average cost of downtime in a brokerage operation at US$107,000 per minute.

With Windows the dominant server operating system in the market, Marathon sees an opportunity to provide fault tolerance on this platform. It uses a similar computing architecture to Stratus, which ensures that application processing at both the compute and input/output levels are done redundantly and in lockstep.

This allows the system to detect, isolate, and compute through component failures, hot swaps, and intermittent system faults without interruption in processing.

According to Marathon, the paradigm enables uptimes of 99.999 percent, or the equivalent of five minutes of downtime per year, compared to traditional clustering technology that only reaches 99.99 percent availability.

"Clustering is not the best way to have fault tolerance," said George Kane, regional director, Marathon Technologies Asia. "As applications must be cluster-aware, it can be complex to set up and monitor."

"So while initial hardware costs may be cheaper, the total cost of ownership is about 20 percent higher than our solution," he added.

Marathon, which has just opened a new office in Singapore, has appointed Transmarco Data Systems and Jos-Prodata Technologies as its value added resellers in Singapore.

However, the privately held company is differentiating itself from Stratus by promoting its openness and interoperability.

"Stratus has mainframe roots and they build proprietary components," said Kane. "Our product has been tested and certified on Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM servers based on the Intel chip set."

Marathon sells its Endurance line of PCI-based interface cards that slot into any standard server. "This gives users more hardware options and makes upgrading easier," said Jason Aw, technical director, Marathon Technologies Asia.

Marathon allows the user to separate the redundant systems into two separate systems that can be directly connected by high-speed fiber up to distances of 500 meters, or 10 kilometers with the help of repeaters. The Endurance Array product line comprises four Marathon Interface Cards to outfit four servers, the fiber cabling to connect these servers, and software that enables the servers to operate in lockstep.

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