Sun Upgrades Cluster Software

The update, available for free for existing Cluster and Java Enterprise System customers, offers improved manageability and scalability.

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Tuesday will make its Sun Cluster 3.1 update available for free for existing Cluster and Java Enterprise System customers.

This update to Suns cluster software, an availability platform for improving the predictability and resilience of business critical applications that is also included in the Sun Java Enterprise System, was talked about at last months Sun Network Computing event in New York.

Sun Cluster software essentially couples Sun servers, storage and networking solutions together. The servers, or nodes, in a cluster communicate through private interconnects. If one of the servers goes offline, the rest of the devices in the cluster isolate the server and fail-over any application or data to another node, thereby exploiting the redundancy in the cluster and ensuring a high level of availability, according to Mark McClain, vice president of software marketing at Sun, in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Sun Cluster 3.1 update offers improved manageability, as the new SunPlex Manager interface will allow users to more easily administer, view and manage clusters in large-scale datacenter deployments. The release also extends Sun Cluster scalability to 16 nodes.

A new Sun Cluster Oracle RAC SVM Edition will also be available Tuesday at a starting price of $7,000 a node. For customers deploying Oracle9i RAC, this edition bundles the Solaris Volume Manager cluster functionality with Sun Cluster and the RAC agent, enabling volume management of Oracle RAC deployments, McClain said.

The tight integration of the Solaris Volume Manager, Sun Cluster and the Oracle9i RAC Sun Cluster agent also gave customers an all-Sun software stack. "With this all-Sun solution, customers can be assured that their deployment has the highest levels of reliability, availability and support," he said.

These new features also represented "a major leap forward in Suns service-level management solution. Now that we have mitigated the barriers to adoption, such as cost and manageability, customers no longer have an excuse for choosing a third-party alternative," McClain said.

Among those customers deploying Sun Cluster software is Major League Baseballs site. With the MLB playoffs now in full swing and a record number of fans visiting the site for up-to-the-minute information about their favorite teams and players, site uptime is a critical factor.

Justin Shaffer, a vice president and chief architect at, said that with up to 15 live games a day during the baseball season and more than 6,000 audio streamed games a year, "it is critical that we have a reliable platform for our mission-critical user application services. For uptime and high-availability, we chose a combination of Suns Sun Fire 15K servers and 9900 storage along with the Sun Cluster software."

The Virginia Department of Health also requires high uptime and availability for its mission-critical communications infrastructure. Dr. Jim Burns, the director of the Richmond-based Virginia Department of Health, said that availability was a big concern when e-mail volumes began topping 40,000 messages a day.

The department then upgraded its communications infrastructure to the Sun Java System Messaging Server and Directory Server, and its hardware platform to the Sun Fire v480 and 280 R servers, along with the Solaris operating system and Sun Cluster for availability. "Since then, the department has consistently maintained 100 percent uptime. We are very pleased with the results," he said.


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