Feeds

Big-time Linux cluster breaks cover

16-node failover cluster seeks solvent, non-smoking application vendor.

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

SGI's FailSafe looks like being the first high-availability clustering for Linux to break cover.

The first public demos of the open sourced Linux FailSafe are expected at the LinuxWorld Expo in August, we gather; the binaries were made available on request last week, and should be available on SGI's site this week.

Unlike the current hamper of web server clusters, FailSafe was designed to host database and TP applications using the shared-everything model pioneered by DEC in its original VAXClusters (now TruClusters) - a model adopted by almost everyone else except Tandem and Microsoft.

Largely at the request of SuSE, SGI announced it make the open source available earlier this year, giving a jump start to other long-term and even more ambitious groundwork to create a VAXish high-availability platform for Linux.

According to SuSE's Alan Robertson, maintainer of the Linux-HA Web site and a lead on the FailSafe project, the source code is still undergoing legal scrutiny.

However, as Robertson acknowledges, the initial release of FailSafe marks the beginning rather than the end of business. Unless a clustered file system such as GFS finds its way into the equation, allowing graceful concurrent access to shared disks, FailSafe must use a crude approach to ensuring data integrity: one node simply cuts the power from its contending rival, a technique which uses the delightful acronym STONITH (or, Shoot The Other Node In The Head).

And Linux FailSafe 1.0 is as much a grab for mindshare as a finished article.

The really ambitious long-term, ground-up Linux HA work came to the fore with the short-lived Linux Cluster Cabal last fall, and continues with Stephen Tweedie's HA architecture and Peter Braam's work on a VAXish Distributed Lock Manager and clustered file systems. There's some overlap here: and Robertson says the FailSafe project is keen to ensure interoperability with the erstwhile Cabalites.

Tweedie himself describes FailSafe as "incredibly important" if Linux is to match the highly available commercial Unixes, but points out it doesn't scale beyond 16 nodes, or provide sophisticated load-balancing. Robertson says that he's keen to agree on APIs for cluster services such as quorum and heartbeat that both projects have in common.

There's no doubt that Linux FailSafe looks like a pretty complete package right down to the GUI front end for cluster management, and its 16-node cluster stands up to SCO's NSC clusters, let alone Microsoft's two-node MCS. However it needs the applications, and porting teams at the likes of Oracle, Informix and IBM need to see a durable-looking API before they can propose a business case. With FailSafe, it looks like they've just got one. ®

Related Stories

TurboLinux announces lay-offs and refocus
Linux goes Big Iron

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.