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Sun goes shoplifting for Christmas Clusters

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Sun seems to have been overcome with selective amnesia at the launch of its Sun Cluster 3.0 and Sun Management Center [sic] 3.0 today.

As expected, Full Moon take three raised the nodes supported to eight, but did not introduce a new cluster file system. However, the feature comparison tick-list omitted TruClusters and VMSClusters, where much of this has already been in use for several years.

We're not just raising this for sentimenal reasons: Compaq has, despite stiff competition from IBM, the leading HA clusters, as ranked by analysts DH Brown Associates, the industry standard server bible and by Illuminata.

So this was some omission, we noted. "Who?" was Scott McNealy's response to our DEC/Compaq question (Scott later pointed out the "who" referred to DEC, not Compaq). Although Sun cluster boss and Solaris VP Andy Ingram had more to add: Compaq didn't figure in Sun's sights in the dot.com enterprise he told The Register, although VMS Clusters had served as the benchmark for Sun's engineers. Funny that.

Some other larceny on show here: Sun's swiped HP's 'always on' message, emphasising services much more than might be expected for a technology launch. And the cluster bundle is trademarked SunPlex. Which will ring a few bells at Big Blue.

On the other hand, Sun claims to have snapped up 40 patents [is this supposed to be a good thing? - Ed.] en route to Full Moon 3.0.

It boasts automatic code generation to make applications cluster aware, which it claims is unique. Tandem's shared-nothing cluster only requires a very short, at minimum three line, script to make an application cluster aware; so although while Sun could argue that it's unique - it isn't uniquely good. However it shares the Tandem-like quality that applications don't need to be rewritten to become cluster aware, which is a very big deal indeed.

Sun lags behind IBM, Compaq and HP's ServiceGuard on scalability in terms of node supported, something Sun's cluster architect described as "bragging rights".

Update: You can read our interview with with Yousef Khalidi here. ®

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