Feeds

Veritas cluster roadmap raises the ceiling

256 mixed nodes and beyond

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Veritas Vision Veritas has mapped out a bold future for its clustering products, including a significant change in the way future clustering software will be sold and in the ways it can be used.

The Register managed to find its way into a clustering session here at the Veritas Vision conference in which two executives plotted out the future of Veritas Cluster Server. If you are a current or prospective user of the software, the information provided during the session could well be key to your future clustering plans.

One of the major revelations made by Veritas is the decision to bifurcate its clustering line into two separate products. In mid-2005, Veritas plans to introduce a product currently named Next Generation Cluster. This software will be more of a product suite rather than a single software package. Veritas plans to take its current Cluster Server software and then add in bits of its OpForce provisioning technology and Ejasent performance tuning technology. Customers should be able to move software from server to server in a much more fluid way than in the past. In addition, it could help customers increase the utilization of their servers - which helps lower hardware costs - while still maintaining a high-levels of availability and performance.

But here's a bit of potentially bad news for current Cluster Server customers. The OpForce and Ejasent add-ons won't be bundled into future releases of Cluster Server. Veritas intends to sell the Next Generation Cluster suite on its own and then sell OpForce and Ejasent "modules" to current Cluster Server customers. So, if you were hoping for a cheap all-inclusive upgrade, tough luck.

On the positive side of things, Next Generation Cluster should give users some of the most sophisticated clustering tools around. The product is specifically designed to tempt customers moving from two server clusters to much more complex multi-node builds. For example, Veritas Cluster Server today only supports up to 32 connected servers in a single cluster domain. When Next Generation Cluster arrives in 2005, Veritas intends to support up to 256 servers in a single domain, said Jim Senicka, a Veritas product manager.

To support this many systems Veritas is re-engineering its policy engine that helps maintain the coherency of data in a cluster. Instead of distributing this engine across numerous servers as it currently does, Veritas plans to centralize the policy engine. A smallish cluster, for example, would run the engine on two servers. The policy engine, however, would still be running alongside other applications. In a large cluster, customers would likely dedicate two servers just for the policy engine.

The extra horsepower is needed to support all of the application shifting functions Veritas has planned for Next Generation Cluster. Take, for example, a four server cluster running a database, application server and Web server. Veritas' new clustering server would allow the user to rank these applications, giving say the database top priority and the Web server the lowest priority. If a failure occurred on the database server, the Veritas software would look over the cluster to see if enough excess capacity exists to move the database onto another box. This shift would take into account the spare box's processing speed and network configuration to make sure it's up to the task of running a high-priority database. (Veritas is using two new tools called the Advanced Workload Manager and Group Transition Queue to make this magic happen.)

The Veritas software would also check that the user has permitted the database to run, for example, on the same box as the Web server. If these apps are not certified to run together, then no deal. If no excess hardware is available, the Next Generation Cluster would make a call to Veritas' OpForce provisioning server to go ahead and set up a new hardware box for the database. While this seems like a time-consuming process, the OpForce code has high-end data snapshot tools that can cut the transfer of a database down to a few seconds, Senicka said. At that point, the Ejasent software steps in to track performance data and make sure the database is running at speed.

All in all, a most impressive package. The biggest benefit of all the technology is the potential cost-savings. In traditional clusters, users tend to have at least one box sitting idle just to handle possible failures. In the new Veritas model, all systems would be active with just bits of excess capacity available on some of the servers. Again, if a new server is needed for a serious failure, OpForce will go ahead and provision one. All told, users could see server utilization in a cluster go up from around 15- to 20 percent to around 60 percent or higher.

The Veritas product staff admit that they might not be able to pull all of this off by mid-2005, but, they are, of course, optimistic. A prototype of the software will be ready by the end of this year. Whatever doesn't arrive in 2005 will likely be in a second release of the software that will come about 9 to 12 months later. In the second release, Veritas plans to make it possible to run all of these tools across a cluster with mixed OS servers. Solaris, Linux and Windows are the main priorities at the moment.

In addition, Veritas hopes to be able to take advantage of higher-end OS tools with Version 2. Solaris 10, for example, makes it possible to run a limitless number of virtual machines on a single processor. This means you can basically create clusters on a single server. Likewise, VMware's partitioning technology does similar things for Windows and Linux boxes. Veritas want all of its failover/provisioning goodies to work with this partitioning technology.

These are all lofty goals to be sure, but Veritas appears to have the technology to make it happen. We'll bring you more detail as it arrives. ®

Related stories

Veritas gives products second billing to tired hype
Veritas and BEA vow to love Java together
Dude, you're getting a Dell - Oracle bundle

Best practices for enterprise data

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?