Sun Set To Illuminate Its Clustering Strategy

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2000-12-04 Print this article Print

Sun Microsystems Inc. is gearing up to unveil software and services to further complement the hardware platform behind its Net Effect vision.

Sun Microsystems Inc. is gearing up to unveil software and services to further complement the hardware platform behind its Net Effect vision. Sun Chief Operating Officer Ed Zander announced the companys Net Effect strategy in September and at the same time announced a range of new hardware based on the companys UltraSPARC processor.

At Suns Service Management Launch this week at its Santa Clara, Calif., campus, Zander will announce technological advancements in the companys server clustering and management software. Specifically, he will introduce Sun Cluster Version 3.0, which uses and extends the high availability and scalability of the Solaris operating environment, according to sources.

Sun Cluster 3.0 promises to provide mainframe-class reliability, availability and scalability for e-commerce, enterprise resource planning, data warehousing, and other mission-critical applications and services, sources said. It currently scales up to 256 processors in a cluster, which is enough to handle growing numbers of simultaneous users and access to large databases. Users can also add or remove nodes while online and mix and match servers to meet their needs.

Zander will also introduce Sun Management Center Version 3.0, which offers a single point of management for all Sun servers, desktops, storage systems, the Solaris operating environment, applications and data center services, sources said.

The software will be generally available for customers within the next few weeks.

Suns goal, sources say, is to eliminate the complexity around clustering. One of its forthcoming innovations will be the ability to install an application once and then run it anywhere on the cluster, across any combination of nodes, without bringing down the system.

Those sources say Sun is responding to customer frustration and annoyance at the length of time needed to load and manage the complex software required for effective scalability and maximum uptime.

While this weeks announcement will essentially cover the software side of the Net Effect platform, Zander plans to announce additional initiatives extending a range of services to the product area. These will include consulting and technical assistance, from the start of the process all the way through to implementation.

Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass., said Unix vendors have long been trying to create a single-system environment that is based on linking a number of Unix systems.

"Suns previous clustering systems have not done this, and they have been promising this for some time," Kusnetzky said. "If they can achieve this single-system view with [this] announcement, it will be of enormous benefit to them, as it will lower the cost of computing by reducing the cost of system management. Even a little improvement in this regard will make Sun dramatically successful."

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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