Mission Critical Powers Linux Clusters

Mission Critical Linux has launched server-clustering software for enterprise environments that need high-availability and downtime protection.

Dubbed Convolo Cluster, the software allows two servers to be clustered in a configuration where both servers are actively operating. Convolo Cluster is platform-independent and will operate on Intel, scalable processor architecture (SPARC), Alpha or million-instructions-per-second servers.

"Our customers have servers used in mission-critical environments," says Kirk Wilson, technical manager for manufacturer Asaca in Golden, Colorado. "If a server goes down, there is the possibility that they'll lose as much as 100 terabytes of data. The ability to have multiple servers in a hot-swap failover or clustering environment is critical to data availability."

A Compaq Computer engineer, Moiz Kohari, founded Mission Critical Linux in July 1999. The company has 80 employees and is backed by $20 million in venture funding from General Atlantic Partners. Its headquarters are in Massachusetts.

Convolo Cluster ships with 60 days of remote, proactive monitoring and includes crash analysis tools that monitor clustered servers, looking for possible problems. The Convolo Cluster can operate on systems running Linux from companies such as Red Hat Inc. Software, TurboLinux Inc., VA Linux Systems Inc., Caldera Systems Inc., MandrakeSoft Inc. or Debian Linux.

The clustering software supports a shared-disk configuration using either SCSI or Fibre Channel, and servers can be connected to each other via Ethernet,serial line, SCSI or Fibre Channel.

Convolo Cluster uses Mission Critical's Kimberlite clustering technology, which the company released under GNU General Public License earlier this month. The source code can be downloaded from Mission Critical's site.

Kimberlite clustering detects when either node leaves the cluster and automatically trigger scripts that perform the tasks necessary to restart applications on the remaining node. When the server is fixed and rejoins the cluster, applications can be moved back to it.

Convolo Cluster is $US1,000 per server and is available (in the US) this month. Service after the 60-day free period starts at $US10,000 per server per year. Mission Critical: www.mission critical.com

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