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Linux Gains Clustering Edge

Veritas software provides high availability and balances workloads

Business-technology executives with high-availability computing needs still have concerns about embracing the open-source Linux operating system. One objection may have been eliminated last week when Veritas Software Corp., an independent storage-management software vendor, unveiled a Linux version of its clustering software.

Veritas is shipping Cluster Server software, which is integrated with Red Hat Linux in the same fashion that other versions are integrated with the leading flavors of Unix, including IBM's AIX, HP-UX, and Sun's Solaris. The software provides Linux customers with high-availability systems because it will switch operations to another server in a cluster when one server fails. Cluster Server will help customers more automatically balance workloads across servers.

The vendor also is shipping Veritas ServPoint NAS software, which will compete with Microsoft's network-attached storage software in turning ordinary servers into appliances specializing in file access and storage. Competitors such as EMC Corp. and Network Appliance Inc. run their own NAS software on their industry-leading appliances.

Cluster Server will be priced at about $10,000 for a typical Linux system consisting of two servers. ServPoint software running on a four-CPU high-availability server will cost around $32,000.

Cluster Server will help push Linux further into the data center, and ServPoint NAS will drive down prices for storage software, says Stacey Quandt, an analyst at advisory firm Giga Information Group. "The financial-services industry and others still need software like this to bring Linux within their enterprise," she says. "Cluster Server gives Linux more credibility to be enterprise class."

Veritas partners IBM, Intel, and Red Hat said last week that the new clustering and NAS capabilities should provide added momentum to Linux. Despite Intel's cozy relationship with Microsoft, it has made support of Linux a high priority. Richard Wirt, general manager of Intel's software and solutions group, says growing vendor support for Linux and the price-performance offered by the operating system are attracting users. Says Wirt, "Now we'll drive it into the enterprise faster."

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