IBM Previews New Clustering Technology at Microsoft's TechEd ‘99 Conference

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DALLAS, TX - 21 May 1999: . . . IBM today provided a sneak peak at new technology that will allow users to link and manage up to eight PC servers.

Codenamed "Cornhusker," the new clustering software is the first extension fully compatible with MicrosoftÒ Cluster Services (MSCS) that allows users to connect more than two servers. Cornhusker will be demonstrated this week at Microsoft's TechEd ྟ conference and is planned for release later this summer. The new software runs on IBM's NetfinityÒ line of servers.

The technology uses Microsoft's standard clustering application programming interface (API), allowing independent software vendors developing applications based on the API to benefit from the "Cornhusker" technology. Similarly, "Cornhusker" will be compatible with Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition and meets current compatibility standards for Windows 2000 Datacenter, providing a smoother transition to future Microsoft operating systems.

In conjunction with Netfinity servers and Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition, "Cornhusker" will provide greater uptime potential for server consolidation and critical business applications, such as enterprise resource planning, data mining and business intelligence, at a lower cost.

"Microsoft is very pleased with this support for its clustering technology from the world's largest enterprise systems vendor, through IBM's extensions to Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition's integrated clustering services," said Edmund Muth, group product manager at Microsoft. "Our mutual customers will benefit from this technology for their Windows NT-based mission critical applications in financial services, ERP, government systems and other settings which place a premium on uptime and manageability."

"The marriage of proven IBM middleware, Netfinity hardware and Microsoft Cluster Services create powerful and reliable solutions for our customers," said Randy Groves, vice president of development, IBM Netfinity. "Moreover, IBM is adding the management tools and installation services to help ensure customers get the most out of their clustered resources from the very beginning."

X-Architecture -- A Roadmap for Netfinity Servers and the Windows NT Environment

Netfinity clusters are yet another component of the Netfinity "X-Architecture" design blueprint grafting IBM's tested enterprise technologies with Windows NT and Windows 2000 environments. As part of those efforts, selected configurations of Netfinity servers running eight-node clusters based on the "Cornhusker" technology are eligible for programs through IBM Global Services providing implementation and planning services and an optional 99.9 percent system uptime guarantee.

Through other optional services from IBM such as cluster pre-registration, business partners can contact the IBM support center for configuration information, tips, and common problems associated with setting-up a cluster. Support specialists can readily access details of the cluster configuration, speeding problem resolution during a follow up call.

What are Clusters

In clustering, multiple computers (or "nodes") are linked together to handle large workloads or provide improved system availability. All nodes can share resources such as the disk storage arrays, while continuing to operate independently. All nodes have access to shared disks connected to the system. If one node becomes unavailable, users on the remaining nodes continue to do work, while users on the failed node are switched to another node and continue their work.

IBM's cluster management extensions for Netfinity systems can provide greater availability, improved performance and lower cost for businesses purchasing servers for mission critical applications in the Windows NT operating environment.

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