The concept of a cluster has been known for a long time - since the end of the 70s for Tandem and since 1983 for Digital. UNIX clusters appeared at the very start of the 90s, while Windows 2000 clusters did not arrive until the late 90’s. UNIX clusters not only offer excellent functionality, but extremely good stability, which they acquired after years of experience. For Microsoft, this experience is still in its very early stages, so one may judge that UNIX clusters have a solid advantage today.

The problems faced by the UNIX clusters are due to their diversity; each cluster solution is specific to a UNIX vendor, each of which offers its own software interfaces. Each UNIX cluster vendor therefore has to support the development of its own cluster extensions and, at the same time, any thirdparty software vendor who wants to take advantage of the high availability and the scalability of the various cluster solutions must somehow handle this wide range of diversity.

Converging on some smaller number of UNIX versions, perhaps triggered by the introduction of IA-64, could effect a remedy to these diversity problems—unless the systems vendors decide to reserve the cluster extensions for use just on their own systems. Because Microsoft’s cluster solution is an integration of proprietary interfaces and of implementation, it answers just one part of the problem. The key problem remains unanswered: that qualification of application software on a given system platform is a necessity.

Finally, we should note that Linux-based cluster solutions could offer a threat to Windows-based systems similar to the threat they offer to the fragmented and divided UNIX market.

Source of Information :  Elsevier Server Architectures 2005


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