NEC Marries Fault Tolerance with Standard Linux

The server maker will offer support for Red Hat Linux in its Express5800/320Ma systems.

NEC Corp. of America is bringing a standard Linux distribution to its fault-tolerant server line.

As the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo gets underway this week in San Francisco, NEC on Aug. 14 is announcing that its Express5800/320Ma systems support Red Hats Enterprise Linux 4.0.4 operating system, according to Mike Mitsch, general manager for alliances and strategy for NEC. The announcement is being made in conjunction with Red Hats release of the OS.

The new Red Hat distribution can run in a lockstep environment, enabling the server maker to bring it to its fault-tolerant systems, Mitsch said.

"Linux is continuing to grow in the data center environment," he said. "This is creating a new level of availability."

NECs fault-tolerant systems offer dual components that run in lockstep. If one component fails, the second one steps in without interruption to the user.

Until now, NEC, of Irving, Texas, has offered its own variant of Linux that could run on the fault-tolerant systems. Having a standard distribution will expand the server lines reach in Linux environments, Mitsch said.

NEC also is offering professional services and platform support for the Linux running on its systems, giving customers a single number to call with problems, he said.

However, the Linux-based fault-tolerant servers initially wont offer all the features of their Windows-based counterparts, he said. There wont be immediate support for NECs Active Upgrade technology, which enables users to upgrade and patch their software without having to reboot their systems. That support will come in later versions, Mitsch said.

Nick Carr, marketing director for Red Hat, said the move into the fault-tolerant systems is the latest step in the open-source operating systems growth.

"As we grow Red Hats base, were seeing demand in different environments," Carr said.

NECs announcement mirrors a similar move by Stratus Technologies in June. Like NEC, Stratus also offers a line of fault-tolerant systems. The Maynard, Mass., company in June announced it was offering support Red Hats new operating system in six of its fault-tolerant servers.

Until now, Stratus also has had to offer its own Linux variant.


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