Veritas has launched software that will let Windows NT users create high-availability clusters of up to 32 servers.
Veritas Cluster Server (VCS) is aimed at users with large Windows NT server farms - SANs used for consolidating Windows NT storage - and e-business application environments using both Unix and Windows NT servers.
Chris Boorman, European marketing manager at Veritas, said the company was the first hardware or software vendor that has been able to demonstrate clustering to 32 nodes on NT.
"Veritas has been able to achieve 32-node clustering because the technology broadcasts information on the state of each machine, and machines are connected together in a SAN architecture which is more scalable than SCSI," said Boorman.
"This brings scalability and clustering to NT that has been perceived as lacking and is needed for high-end applications," he added.
Boorman said Veritas was taking disk management software for Unix clustering, and bringing this to NT4 and, in the future, Windows 2000.
Rob Hailstone, research director at Bloor Research, said: "This technology will put Veritas in competition with hardware vendors. Although one would expect a software layer not to be as fast as hardware, it can be expected to be very cost-effective."
Hailstone added that vendors have put much more effort into making NT more widely available, and he described the latest Veritas announcement as "very significant".
According to Veritas, the scalability and policy-based fail-over capabilities of VCS make it possible to efficiently manage the availability of critical applications in large NT server farms at much lower hardware costs.
Supporting 32 servers in a single cluster and monitoring up to 256 clusters from a single console, VCS for NT can manage availability of large single-function server farms for applications such as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes.
The system is available direct from Veritas and through accredited resellers.
Pricing for a typical Exchange Server implementation is $3,500 (£2,188) per server.
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