Xkoto Pairs with Freebie DB2 in Database Load-Balancing Gambit

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2006-02-24 Print this article Print

A load-balancing startup is taking the balancing act to databases, and it's managed to boot MySQL out of another startup as its first bragging rights.

A load-balancing startup is taking the balancing act to databases, and its managed to boot MySQL out of another startup as its first bragging rights. The startup, Xkoto, launched at the end of December with its Database Load Balancer. It currently works with IBMs recently launched freebie version of its database, DB2 Express-C. Its launch coincided with that of another startup, Savvica, with its free e-learning service, which was running on a MySQL database when it first rolled out.
According to Xkoto CEO Albert Lee, MySQL worked fine for the e-learning startups first two months. But after Savvica got into the marketing game, including a write-up in an online thread called Tech Crunch that could be considered the equivalent of the Super Bowl in the companys market space, usage shot through the roof.
Because Savvicas e-learning service entails heavy read/write on the database—as it allows users to create e-learning content, upload the content for delivery to students, grade papers and the like—the servers were slammed. "Usage spiked, and the server fell over," Lee said. Hence, as Xkoto announced on Feb. 22, Savvica embarked on and has just now completed a migration off MySQL to a configuration using Xkotos Database Load Balancer and DB2 Express-C. Lee said the situation at Savvica looked the same as at any company where businesses must ensure that servers can handle whatever surge in traffic comes their way. To do so, businesses typically go to a big-box architecture, making sure they have server capacity for peak load. Alternatively, they go the utility route, paying for capacity on the fly. Such a model is constrained by the type of architecture in use, however. Xkoto, in contrast, is taking a horizontal rather than a vertical approach to architecture. "Were saying youre running out of capacity, throw another low-cost commodity server on the cluster horizontally," Lee said. "We can spread the traffic around." Web load balancers and application load balancers are already a known commodity at most data centers. What Xkoto wants to do is extend the concept in customers minds to encompass load balancing in the database. "That analogy were extending down to the data tier and doing what the Ciscos and F5s do above us in the stack," Lee said. Key for the Database Load Balancer is to fit between the application and the data clusters and to control cluster load from that vantage point. Next Page: Database replicas.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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