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SCO adds cluster feature to operating system

Santa Cruz Operation unveils a new feature designed to keep computers running its Unix operating system.

Santa Cruz Operation unveiled a new feature today designed to keep computers running its Unix operating system.

The NonStop Clusters feature means that collections of computers using SCO's UnixWare operating system will be better able to withstand crashes and can be made powerful more easily by adding new computers to the cluster. The clustering software connects up to 12 nodes in a cluster that from the outside looks like a single computer system.

The offering brings SCO's operating system up to par with other versions of Unix such as Sun Microsystems' Solaris, which offers clustering capability. It also reinforces SCO's effort to stay a few steps ahead of Linux, a close relative of Unix that runs on the same Intel-based hardware as SCO's products.

While Linux is good for one type of clustering--ganging together lots of machines to tackle heavy-duty number crunching--efforts at adding business-oriented clustering features are comparatively immature. Those features include failover, in which one computer steps in when another crashes, and load-balancing, in which jobs are evenly distributed among all the computers in a cluster.

SCO, using a sales strategy popular with the rise of the Internet, says its clustering software is critical to round-the-clock computing. And in another popular way to make more money off high-end product sales, SCO also is bundling services to support and install the clustering technology.

SCO announced the clustering product today at its SCO Forum show in Santa Cruz, California.