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Marathon Adds System-Level Fault Tolerance To XenServer Environments

The company introduced a new version of its everRun fault tolerance software for XenServer virtual servers, and added automation features to its standard version of everRun.

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Marathon, Littleton, Mass., also introduced expanded automation capabilities to its existing high-availability and fault-tolerant computing software.

Marathon's new everRun VM Lockstep for Citrix XenServer is the industry's first technology for running virtual machine-level fault tolerance, said Michael Bilancieri, senior director of products for the vendor.

EverRun VM has been out about a year, and allowed a virtual server to fail-over to another virtual server, Bilancieri said. However, with the addition of Marathon's Lockstep technology, a virtual server can fail-over to a virtual server on a completely different physical server in case the host server fails, with no loss of data or downtime of the application, he said.

EverRun VM Lockstep currently is available only for Citrix XenServer environments, but is expected to support Microsoft's Hyper-V environments, Bilancieri said. "For VMware, we haven't got access to the needed APIs," he said. "VMware is not open enough to allow access to the level needed to do fault tolerance."

Marathon's new everRun 2G expands on its existing everRun fault- tolerant computing software with a single version that allows different levels of high availability and fault tolerance to be set as appropriate, Bilancieri said. The different levels are turned on via a software license key instead of purchasing a different version of the software, he said.

Also new is fully automated setup, configuration, monitoring, and fault detection and management, Bilancieri said.

EverRun 2G also includes Marathon's Lockstep system-level fault tolerance, which allows one physical server to fail over to another physical server without disrupting an application.

It also now supports fault tolerance for multiple applications running on the server, unlike in the past when one copy of everRun was required for every application, Bilancieri said.

Frank Vincentelli, CTO at Integrated IT Solutions, a Waltham, Mass.-based solution provider and Marathon partner, said his company has been dealing with virtual servers for years, but adding high-availability capabilities is complex.

"It's difficult to patch and maintain, and can become a logistical nightmare," Vincentelli said. "With Marathon's approach to bringing high availability to the hypervisor layer, it's much simpler."

Integrated IT Solutions has been working with Marathon for about 15 months, and the vendor has been very responsive to the solution provider, Vincentelli said.

"They're not one of those vendors who think everything they do is important to our running our business," he said. "They've raised the concept of being a partner, and raised the health of the partnership. We go in to a customer knowing Marathon will help us drive the business based on the client's concerns."

The new versions of the everRun family are slated to ship May 18. EverRun 2G with full-fault tolerance is priced at $18,000 per server pair. EverRun VM Lockstep is priced at $9,000 per host server.

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