Volume 3, Number 23 -- June 22, 2006

SCO Launches HA Clusters for OpenServer 6

Published: June 22, 2006

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Commercial Unix distro SCO Group has partnered with an unnamed third party software supplier to provide a lower-cost clustering option to users of its OpenServer 6 and UnixWare 7.1.4 Unixes.

The software, called SCO HA Clusters, is an user-level clustering package that SCO has taken on primarily as a means of giving OpenServer 6 customers the clustering package that is akin to the Reliant HA extensions that have been available for UnixWare for a long time. According to John Maciaszek, director of operating system product management at SCO, the fact that it is a user-based product (which means it thinks at an application stack level) instead of a kernel-based product (like Reliant HA) means it is a lot easier for SCO to offer clustering support. HA Clusters runs as an application on top of the operating system, not within the guts of the operating system, and therefore applications do not have to be rejiggered to support high availability clustering and failover. The software has a heartbeat to keep servers in synch and it also provides a means to run in active-active mode (with load balancing of applications across nodes) as well as active-passive (with redundant nodes in standby mode), but it does not have multiple heartbeats like Reliant HA. SCO HA Clusters supports up to five nodes, compared to four for Reliant HA, but given that it is aimed at OpenServer, not UnixWare, Maciaszek says that he expects most customers to run it in two-node mode so they can get high availability and to be able to take one server down for maintenance without taking applications down.

SCO HA Clusters costs $999 per processor core, compared to $2,999 per server node for Reliant HA. So, if you wanted to create a two-node setup using single-core X64 servers, SCO HA Clusters costs $1,998, while Reliant HA would cost $5,998 at list price and $5,799 after a slight bundle discount. This is obviously a big improvement in price.

While SCO did not want to name the third party that it is working with to provide its HA Clusters software, it seems logical that it is Lakeview Technology, an expert in OS/400 server clustering that bought a company called HA Technical Solutions in November 2003. HA Technical Solutions focused on Unix clustering and had a product called HA Clusters, which was (and still is) supported on Sun OS and Solaris; HP-UX, Irix, Free BSD, OpenServer, UnixWare, Mac OS X Server, AIX, and Linux.

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
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