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Availigent brings high availability to Linux

Feb 23, 20063 mins
Computers and PeripheralsData CenterLinux

Fault-tolerant software specialist Availigent is targeting enterprise data centers with a product that company executives say is a simpler approach to creating highly available environments than traditional methods that often involve custom coding, proprietary operating systems or special, fault-tolerant systems.

Availigent, which changed its name from Eternal Systems last month, is hoping to bring the technology it originally created for embedded communication equipment in the telecom market – where extremely high uptime and reliability are necessities – to enterprise data centers.

While its software, Duration 2.1, is limited to Linux today, executives say a Windows version is coming, with support for Solaris and HP-UX also possible, depending on customer demand.

Duration 2.1 uses application virtualization at its base, meaning that it separates applications and their associated connections into virtual packages separate from the hardware.

“The argument that [Availigent] makes is that by doing this at the application level they get more control and more flexibility. So instead of moving an entire server infrastructure virtually, they just move the application between servers,” says Scott Donahue, a vice president at Tier 1 Research.

By monitoring application containers, and moving them among clustered Linux servers, the Duration software can provide 99.999% uptime, reducing downtime to about five minutes a year, says Bud Michael, Availigent’s president and CEO.

The way the software works is customers deploy an agent on each server and then a management tool, which can run on any node or on a separate server, communicates with and manages each virtualized application package to ensure applications stay up and running according to user-defined policies. When there are problems, Duration automatically moves running applications to healthy nodes to avoid downtime.

Duration 2.1 also uses what Availigent calls CheckPoint Service to capture the memory image and associated storage for running applications to ensure that in the case of a failure, applications are recovered quickly without service interruption.

Duration 2.1 starts at $1,000 per node and competes with products such as HP ServiceGuard, Veritas Cluster Server and SteelEye LifeKeeper. It runs on standard Linux distributions from Red Hat and Novell.

The company is targeting Duration 2.1 at applications where uptime is critical, including high performance computing in areas such as oil and gas exploration and financial services, Web-based applications and enterprise VoIP services. It is certified for applications such as oracle 9i, Sybase, MySQL and Apache and runs on a variety of hardware platforms including HP ProLiant and BladeSystem, Egenera BladeFrame and IBM BladeCenter servers.

Analysts say Availigent is targeting a good area, especially with its ability to provide fault-tolerance and high availability without operating system or application modification. But they also note that Availigent is focused on one area of virtualization at a time when enterprise buyers are looking for a more complete approach.