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Compaq, SCO team on server technology

The Santa Cruz Operation will begin to market clustering technology from Compaq with an Intel flavor.

The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) will begin to market clustering technology from Compaq that will allow users to group together Intel-based servers into a cohesive computing whole for backing up corporate data.

Clustering technology ties servers together to create a phalanx of computers for back-up of corporate data. To date, this technology has been widely used on non-Intel Unix servers and mainframes. But SCO and Compaq are now hoping to provide this same technology for Intel-processor-based Compaq servers using SCO's Unix operating system.

Though Microsoft has developed clustering technology which allows users to tie together two NT servers to prevent corporate data brown-outs, NT technology is not yet mature or stable enough to match the capabilities of Unix-based systems.

With the UnixWare NonStop Clusters software, SCO is able to group up to six, four-processor servers in a single cluster. While the NonStop Cluster technology prevents failures and brown-outs, it also allows administrators to view the cluster as a single entity, according to Mary McDowell, vice president of the server products division at Compaq.

"This has pulled us several years ahead," claimed Tamar Newberger, director of product management for SCO told CNET earlier.

The base technology for NonStop Clusters comes from technology developed by Tandem, which Compaq acquired last year. The companies then all worked together to port it to SCO's UnixWare operating system. NonStop Clusters is, in fact, one of the first tangible, marketable examples of how Compaq will integrate Tandem technology into the ProLiant platform, McDowell added.

The companies will also work together to develop promote the technology with their combined base of system integrators.

The availability of this high-level clustering technology now for SCO's UnixWare may fill the breach before the operating system can take advantage of the Merced chip--now delayed until the year 2000 by Intel--and extend its reach to larger corporate organizations.

SCO has captured the lion's share of the Unix-on-Intel market by catering to volume sales. Most of the company's sales go to small businesses, or large businesses with small regional offices. Approximately 10 percent of Compaq's ProLiant servers run UnixWare as their operating system.