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You think your mainframes are too expensive? Your office servers running e-mail and file & print have too many outages and need too long to repair? The scalability of your 32-way SMP is much less than promised not only on large data sets? Your ancient hardware fault tolerant machine needs a replacement? Well, have a look at clusters.
Whether it's called autonomic computing,
cluster technologies are at the center of future computing initiatives that promise benefits like self-healing and auto-scaling.
Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, believes that Linux clusters can be faster, cheaper, more reliable and more secure than IBM mainframes (more ...).
Professor David Patterson (UC Berkeley) thinks that we've spent enough time and money on making computers fast and cheap. Now we should concentrate on creating a technology the world can depend upon (more ...).
And the number of clusters appearing in Top500.org, a web site that lists the world's most powerful computers, is doubling every year.
What is a cluster?
A cluster is typically defined as a collection of interconnected computers (called nodes)
- used as a unified computing resource
- administered as a single domain
- with inter-node communication via message-passing over a high-speed network
- where nodes share the same locality, architecture and operating system
Clusters are designed to provide benefits like
- 24 x 7 availability with failover protection and disaster recovery
- Horizontal and vertical scalability with or without downtime and investment protection
- Large data and transaction volumes
- Very high aggregate compute power
- Central cluster management
- Network load balancing
On the application side clusters run 100% of the world's stock exchanges, control the majority of ATM‘s, manage large scale production lines, authorize credit card payments, search for oil, decode the human genome, simulate car crashes and render images just to mention a few examples where clusters rule.
The chapters on technology shed some light on problems, solutions and internals of clustering. Under services you'll find what we can do for you. For a guided tour just follow the blue arrows at the end of the page.