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HP Offers Failover Clustering on Vanilla NT, W2K

Failover clustering is an upsell in Microsoft server operating systems. Users must buy Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server or Windows NT 4.0 Server, Enterprise Edition, to get it. Hewlett-Packard Co. introduced clustering software on Tuesday that works with plain-old Windows NT 4.0 Server of Windows 2000 Server. But there's a catch: It's only supported on HP's ProLiant servers.

HP introduced the clustering software as a $900 upsell to the software bundle it includes for free with every server. That bundle, known as the ProLiant Essentials Foundation Pack, includes the standard server setup and deployment software that all the major OEMs package with their servers. The Essentials Foundation pack contains elements like the Compaq Insight Manager and Compaq SmartStart; the whole bundle used to go by the more utilitarian name "Compaq ProLiant Server Setup and Management" kit.

The clustering piece comes in a package called the ProLiant Essentials Recovery Server Option (RSO).

It allows active-standby configuration of two identical ProLiant servers. The standby server initializes and takes over when it detects a hardware or software failure in the active server. RSO can be used for applications that are not cluster-aware, which is also possible with the Microsoft Cluster Services in Windows NT 4.0, Enterprise Edition; Windows 2000 Advanced Server; and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.

HP positions RSO as entry-level, high-availability software for use in remote site deployments, unattended operations or distance environments.

Operating systems supported by RSO include Windows NT 4.0 Server; Windows NT 4.0 Server, Enterprise Edition; Windows 2000 Server; Windows 2000 Advanced Server; NetWare 5.1 and 6.0; Red Hat Linux; and SuSE Linux.

Along with the introduction of RSO on Tuesday, HP also announced enhancements to its $119 per server ProLiant Essentials Rapid Deployment Pack, which is a combination of HP-Compaq software and the Altiris eXpress Deployment suite. The RDP is billed as providing a drag-and-drop solution for deploying standard software builds in an automated way from a remote console.

New features include the addition of support for Red Hat and SuSE Linux (Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server were already supported); and enhancements for using RDP in blade server environments. Again the software is supported only with ProLiant servers.

Details on HP's ProLiant Essentials software are available here.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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