Expanding Options for Clustering

The role of Linux in the future of clustering.
The Future of Shared Storage

Finally, some applications do require physically shared disks. However, because shared SCSI remains an unusual configuration, putting together complete systems using this approach requires care—often complete hardware/software system certification by a vendor. (When was the last time you checked your disk firmware level?) Even when this is all arduously put together, as we have seen, there are severe limitations on both the number of nodes that can share data over SCSI and possible physical cable layouts. Fiber channel relaxes some of these limitations but comes with drawbacks of its own, including steep price points, problems with multivendor interoperability and a set of management issues unfamiliar to many users of Linux thin servers.

The next year will see a huge change in the face of shared storage. Industry leaders are pushing two new major storage interconnects that will make shared storage available at a price point appropriate for thin servers that will also support sharing by large node counts seen in Internet data centers. Cisco and hot startups like 3ware are backing SCSI-over-IP, which will allow SCSI block protocols to run over a switched Ethernet fabric. Intel and the server vendors are lining up behind a new I/O standard called Infiniband. It will provide a switched I/O fabric that could eventually be implemented in the chip sets included on every commodity server motherboard. Indeed, these developments are complementary—Gigabit Ethernet cards will be able to sit on the Infiniband fabric and run the SCSI-over-IP protocols. As a consequence, we can look forward to having dozens or even hundreds of systems share storage over modern interconnects in the near future. Clustering solutions that provide the basis for using these interconnects to create truly manageable and scalable distributed solutions out of sets of Linux boxes will set the tone for the data center architectures of the future.

Ken Dove is chief architect of PolyServe, Inc. Previously, he was a distinguished engineer at IBM and before that principal software architect at Sequent Computer Systems for 12 years.


White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState