Marathon Offers Low-Cost, Fault-Tolerant Option For SMBs


The Littleton, Mass., company on Monday unveiled the new EverRun HA software, which uses a virtualization architecture to ensure that one of two duplicate Windows servers will be operating at all times, said Greg Phillips, Marathon president and CEO. Priced at $7,500, the software can be loaded on one- or two-way servers and has built-in scripts that make continuous availability "virtually plug and play," Philips said.

Marathon already offers EverRun FT software, based on the same technology, that provides 100 percent uptime for about twice the price of EverRun HA. The main difference between the two packages is in the downtime: EverRun HA offers high availability, while EverRun FT promises fault tolerance.

In EverRun HA, for example, if the primary server goes down, it's backup automatically reboots. With EverRun FT, there’s a seamless handoff from one server to the other, said Jerry Melnick, Marathon's vice president of engineering. Servers running EveryRun HA do not have to be using identical components, as required in the higher-end EverRun FT, he added.

Phillips thinks Marathon's newest product will be particularly appealing to companies that need high availability but can tolerate some downtime. He said a sports network currently uses the FT product for its e-mail server because it needs to make sure e-mail is always available. "That's how they communicate with their reporters in the field," he said.

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Other companies may want their e-mail available in nearly all cases but can tolerate an occasional interruption.

"It's really four nines vs. five nines," said Bob Issenberg, president of VTEC, a Burlington, Vt.-based solution provider.

Issenberg, who specializes in storage and high-availability computing, said both of Marathon's software packages offer an alternative to the traditional server cluster, which would be costly to configure and build with the same features available in EverRun. But EverRun HA offers a more attractive price point to customers that may have decided against a high-availability solution because of the cost involved.

"We can go after customers we are not involved with today," Issenberg said.