Ever heard of “Virtualization 2.0”? IDC’s John Humphreys recently spoke of virtualization's next evolutionary phase: “In 2007, focus will shift from server consolidation to capacity management, high availability, and disaster recovery. There’s huge market appeal for solutions that address planned and unplanned downtime in virtual environments." <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

An inherent disadvantage of today's server virtualization is that its primary use--server consolidation--introduces a single point of failure into you environment. In essence, you're putting "all your eggs in one basket." You have many more resources on one system, and therefore the implications of server downtime are far greater. You're also facing vastly increased complexity in your efforts to reliably manage your infrastructure.

 

Marathon Technologies is about to introduce a cure, and it's called v-Available.

 

We spoke with company representatives Gary Phillips, president and CEO, and Michael Bilancieri, director of products, about the company's upcoming v-Available initiative, which brings Marathon's everRun fault-tolerant technology to virtual environments. We also spoke of the company's related partnership with server-virtualization vendor XenSource, whose XenEnterprise product is at the center of v-Available. Marathon's goal, in integrating fault tolerance and proven virtualization technologies, is to remove one of the most potent barriers to server-virtualization adoption: the lack of true high-availability technology for today’s virtual environments. 

 

With v-Available, Marathon promises to make availability so simple, nondisruptive, and cost-effective that every application in your environment can have availability insurance. The product offers far-reaching network, data, and application support for both virtual and physical systems on Windows or Linux (planned for 2008) platforms. A particularly enticing v-Available feature is the ability to dial in different availability levels based on the specific requirements of the application. "For example," Bilancieri said, "you might dial your email application up to the top level, Fully Fault Tolerant, and you might dial your less-critical CRM implementation to Rapid Recovery, and you might dial your low-level data stores to DR/Remote Availability."

 

The unique v-Available software approach offers some distinct benefits, not least of which is Fault Tolerant (FT)-class availability, with no loss of data or application state. It's a turnkey solution that's simple to install and maintain, and it also offers fully automated fault handing and policy management. The solution doesn't require a SAN backbone, and its administrative and maintenance costs are as much as 55 percent lower than high-availability clusters.

 

In a time when retrofit solutions are complex and offer unreliable failover technologies--requiring complex setup routines, extensive scripting and modifications, and costly SANs--v-Available shines brightly on the horizon. Marathon expects to begin product rollout in the third quarter of this year, followed by formal release in the fourth quarter.