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Commentary: Veritas extends high availability

The company's new clustering and load-balancing technologies broaden the market for its high-availability solutions and also lessen the burdens of implementing them.

By Donna Scott, Gartner Analyst

Veritas Software's new clustering and load-balancing technologies broaden the market for the company's high-availability solutions and also lessen the burdens of implementing them.

By offering a preconfigured version of its Veritas Cluster Server (VCS), the company is lowering one of the principal barriers to the adoption of clustering technology: costs that can run as high as $60,000 per application node (not including professional implementation services). At just $5,000 per node--and with significantly lower implementation and administration costs--VCS QuickStart will likely prove attractive to a much broader range of enterprise customers, including those with highly distributed smaller-node environments, as well as to centralized application server environments.

The new Traffic Director load-balancing technology may be an even more significant development for Veritas, moving the company well beyond its traditional narrow focus on high-availability database systems. Load balancing is used across the entire network--not just in database applications--and this should open up new customer sources for Veritas.

The requirement for a more robust and responsive Web infrastructure has fueled innovation in a number of technology areas. Everything from optical networking to advances in Internet traffic management is targeted at making the Internet and IP-based networks faster and more responsive for users. Over the past several years, the market for load balancers has migrated from providing basic high-availability services for server farms to enhancing and managing user and content relationships.

The load-balancing market segment is a highly competitive one, dominated by hardware manufacturers such as Cisco Systems and by software providers such as Resonate. However, Veritas does have some important advantages in approaching this space--notably its long-standing and widely recognized expertise in ensuring the reliability of database systems.

See news story:
Veritas expanding software to new turf
With its new products, Veritas is laying the groundwork for more actively managed network systems. Traditional clustering is more reactive in nature--responding to a failure and reducing recovery time, but not preventing the failure in the first place. Traffic Manager enables enterprises to seamlessly shift network connections when a failure occurs, in a way that is totally transparent to users.

In addition, as Veritas products come to be deployed across all tiers of a Web application, they will be able to make more intelligent loading decisions--and that offers the potential to improve the overall performance and availability of the Web site.

(For related commentary on high-availability techniques for servers, see registration required.)

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