Marathon ships He-Man virtual machine protector
Power of Grayskull results in everRun VM
What happens when my physical machine collapses? That's what a lot of virtualization newcomers wonder about while considering the prospect of stacking tons of applications on a single, physical box.
Virtualization players such as VMware and Symantec/Veritas have addressed these concerns through HA (high availability) packages that will make sure important applications keep running somewhere in your data center even when physical system failures occur. But longtime hardened software specialist Marathon Technologies argues that existing HA kits fail to go far enough. So, it's pumping the market with everRun VM - a package that brings ultra-fancy levels of HAocity to Citrix's XenServer software.
Marathon has been bragging about everRun VM for months with demonstrations of the software taking place at various trade shows. Now, however, the code has moved into beta status and should be available for purchase in April.
For years, Marathon has shipped software that gave Windows-based servers some of the high availability features you might associate with higher-end systems produced by the fault tolerant crowd such as Stratus or the old Tandem machines. Customers could take the Marathon code and use it to ensure their crucial applications stayed up and running even when the physical servers endured serious failures.
By applying similar techniques to virtual machines, Marathon thinks it can encourage customers to move what could be considered as business critical software over to virtualized servers. At the beginning, such software might include SQL Server and Exchange applications, but eventually customers could put things like financial and retail software on virtual systems as well.
As you might expect, the Marathon everRun VM architecture requires a customer to run duplicate systems, so that one can pick up where the other left off when failures happen. We're told that the failover magic can be applied to servers without any changes to existing software.
"The other guys usually require that you do scripting and modify applications to be cluster aware," Marathon CEO Gary Phillips told us. "Then, when you do an operating system upgrade or change applications, you have to go back and script again, re-modify software and retest it. We get rid of that complexity."
To use the technology, customers will need to install XenServer and everRun VM on each host server they want to protect. Then you pop into the everRun management console and select the virtual machines that need failover help.
Marathon plans to offer a variety of protection levels, ranging from basic failover and recovery, to a zero downtime option that guards against I/O, storage and networking issues and then a complete protection package guarding against a severe physical server blowout.
Initially, it will offer the base protection through XenServer and then the General Availability package that covers component-level fault tolerance. So, you're more or less covered against I/O and networking issues with the GA tool.
By the fourth quarter, Marathon plans to ship the everRun VM Lockstep Option which covers system-level issues. And that's where full-on application replication takes places across multiple physical systems.
The software will cost $4,500 per sever when bundled with XenServer or $2,000 per server on its own for the General Availability package. Marathon does not sell direct, so you'll need to hit up a reseller for the software.
Marathon sounded iffy on building similar software for VMware but is eying Microsoft's upcoming Hyper-V software. ®
Marathon is not a cluster
I'm still not sure most people understand how this works. It is NOT a cluster, and at the highest level (System Fault Tolerance) there is no concept of FAILOVER. FAILOVER assumes some latency (up to and including re-starting the guests and then the applications without any real regard to their respective QoS.)
Marathon is running one instance of an OS on two guests SIMULTANEOUSLY (Lockstepping) which is how Tandem and Stratus do it (but with proprietary hardware.)
Data Centers don't always have a lot of choice in the applications they buy or the quality thereof. I think it is great that a company can make crap run flawlessly. Face, it, there is a lot of crap out there, and aside from coding your own (which is usually cost-prohibitive) all you can do is apply bandages. If someone makes a quality bandage, I think they should be applauded.
BTW, Virtualization is one of the BEST concepts ever to hit IT, and I think history has already proven that. Now it's a matter of making it open and ubiquitous.
Xen is helping to do that. Marathon is making it more viable for mission-critical apps.
You failed to make a point about virtualization.
What is the point?
Virtualisation is THE dumbest concept ever and yet seems to be continuing to grow en mass.
It is the biggest iPhone known to man and who wants that?
Example of why it is stupid
[NOTE] This can also be applied to WAN based VoIP systems
My data center hosts as many servers as I like all running boxes with XP for example on them which have Office installed so that all my staff can log in and use slimlined licensed desktops.
One server goes down. Not a problem I have fifty others to take up the strain.
My ADSL line goes down to at the office. We are all up shit creek because BT wont come out to look at it for 3 days.
We have a backup ISDN line but it will take 1 day to reroute all the traffic because i is set to go via proxy which was also being hosted at the data center.