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NEC Adds Fault Tolerant Support For Microsoft Hyper-V

Express5800/ft server offers a highly available environment to run mission-critical applications for a small business or remote office on Microsoft's virtualization platform.

Daniel Dern

October 25, 2010

4 Min Read

NEC Express5800/ft Server

NEC Express5800/ft Server

(click image for larger view)
NEC Express5800/ft Server

NEC Corporation of America announced Monday that it is adding to its NEC Express5800/ft series servers support for Microsoft's Hyper-V on its fault-tolerant hardware platform. This represents the latest additions to the company's Fault Tolerant (FT) server line.

According to the company, "The new NEC FT servers support Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and virtualization platform Hyper-V 2.0 to create virtualized environments on fault tolerant hardware."

Mike Mitsch, general manager of the IT platform group at NEC America, said, "Offering Hyper-V or other virtualization on high-availability environments has proven challenging and complex. The fault-tolerant hardware has to be aware of, and support, the hypervisor. Being able to run Hyper-V on fault-tolerant hardware addresses the needs of mission-critical applications."

NEC had announced support for VMware vSphere throughout the product line back in July to provide virtualization, and fault-tolerant hardware vendor Stratus also recently announced support for Microsoft Hyper-V.

NEC's Express5800/ft series provides redundancy for essential hardware components including CPU and memory to avoid system downtime due to hardware failures. "As you use virtualization, hardware failures become more significant," stated Mitsch. The components that typically fail on servers, according to Mitsch, are the moving parts -- fans, disk drives, and the high-heat areas like power supplies -- followed by memory, which can especially be a problem in virtualized environments, which are memory-intensive.

"Hardware fault tolerance is the most cost-effective solution for x86 platforms to ensure high availability when factoring in the time spent recovering from corruption due to failed non-fault tolerant server hardware such as those commonly used with Hyper-V and VMware's HA," said Eric K. Miller, CEO of Genesis Hosting Solutions, which has been offering VMware-based services on NEC fault-tolerant hardware and has been evaluating Microsoft's Hyper-V on NEC's platform.

NEC Express5800/ft Server

NEC Express5800/ft Server

(click image for larger view)
NEC Express5800/ft Server

Target markets for NEC's new fault-tolerant Hyper-V servers include small businesses, remote offices, data centers, and appliance vendors. For small and midsize businesses (SMBs), for example, an Express5800/ft server provides a highly available environment to run mission-critical applications for a small business or remote office and can include the security firewall, Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL, Voice-over-IP, and "line-of-business" applications.

"The Express5800/ft series is good for companies who need high availability with simple infrastructure and configuration, simple licensing, and the ability to manage and service hardware with simple hot-plug replacements," said NEC's Mitch.

"With its fault tolerant ft-series server solution, NEC is addressing SMB firms' challenges of having limited IT skill sets in-house for deploying clustered server applications," said Jean S. Bozman, research VP in IDC's enterprise platforms group. "The built-in support for Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors and a virtualized Microsoft computing environment brings the benefits of virtualization and workload consolidation, via multiple VMs per physical server, without special setup or scripting."

"The FT makes great sense for SMBs markets when you add up the total costs of alternative solutions for ensuring that your business applications stay up," stated Dick Csaplar, senior research analyst at Aberdeen Group. "The costs for these other approaches include additional hardware and storage, clustering or other high-availability software, plus time for setup, management of the high availability solution, ongoing costs of testing, and when there is an event, the cost of downtime to reset systems, plus lost sales and productivity. Fault tolerance is a simple solution. Fault tolerance pays for itself even with just one hardware event per year, which could be scheduled maintenance otherwise translating to planned downtime."

Genesis' Miller said "Most SMB and enterprise customers are coming to us for high availability and our aggressive service level agreement (SLA). NEC's FT Server platform provides the same level of performance as a non-fault-tolerant server when compared to slower and less capable software-based fault tolerance, while adding advanced recovery mechanisms that prevent performance problems from occurring during resynchronization after a module has been replaced.

"Having Microsoft Hyper-V available on a fault-tolerant platform brings another high-availability virtualization solution to our services for companies who don't need some of the high-end features of VMware, or who currently have Microsoft management systems in place and wish to continue to use Microsoft's technology at the hypervisor layer," said Miller. "We expect our hardware fault tolerant Hyper-V solutions to be more cost-effective than our equivalent VMware offering."

NEC Express5800/ft series servers with support for Microsoft Hyper-V are available now in North America and Asia Pacific, with pricing beginning around $17,000 (not including the price of host or guest operating systems or other software). For existing customers that want to run Hyper-V on NEC R320a fault-tolerant servers, "NEC will support them," according to them company.

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About the Author(s)

Daniel Dern


Daniel P. Dern is an independent technology and business writer. He can be reached via email at [email protected]; his website, www.dern.com; or his technology blog, TryingTechnology.com

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