Both new versions add support for Oracle 8, the latest release of the company's database server software.
Parallel Server lets an Oracle database run on multiple NT servers for better performance. The software lets databases operate in tandem to process queries more quickly. The software supports four or more concurrent nodes, according to Oracle.
Clustering, pioneered by Digital Equipment in the 1980s, ties several servers together so that they work as one. This increases the horsepower of the server and provides reliability benefits--that is, if one server fails, the application will disperse its processes across the remaining servers instead of crashing the entire system.
Oracle has shipped a Unix version of Parallel Server for some time. The Windows NT version is fairly recent, helped in part by Microsoft's recent inclusion of specialized clustering technology in Windows NT 4.0.
The Enterprise Edition of NT adds Microsoft Cluster Server software for failover capabilities between two server machines when one crashes.
Fail Safe, like Parallel Server, is intended to keep database servers running in the event of a system failure. But the software is more limited in its scope. It allows two servers to be connected, so that a power or system disruption on one server will trigger a failover to the other server.
No pricing was announced for either product.