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Emic Networks Puts HA Clustering in Reach of LAMP, LAMJ

Clustering for Everyone

February 14, 2005

While many specific vertical channels have been early adopters of clustering technologies, costs and lack of general accessibility have proved to be speed bumps on the way to cluster deployment for basic open source technologies. Also, the perception that Linux and open source has not been ready for mission-critical applications has also proved to be a barrier.

This situation is something that Emic Networks is trying to change with the announcement today of its extended application cluster product line that now includes compatibility with JSP and J2EE platforms.

For those unfamiliar with Emic Networks, their technological mission is straightforward: applying a software-based management tool to manage low-cost platforms and turning them into high-availability computing clusters. When they got started in 2000, the Finnish company (now based in San Jose, CA) applied their technology exclusively to MySQL database clusters. Then the model was extended to Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl platforms, commonly known as LAMP.

This was a good fit for Emic, since LAMP platforms are prolifically deployed in the Internet and throughout corporate networks. Today's announcement extends their cluster management software into another burgeoning platform: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and J2EE, or LAMJ.

Essentially, the cluster solution products, lamp/cluster and lamj/cluster, can be plugged into existing networks and will provide administrators with a common management interface for all of the servers in the LAMP or LAMJ stack.

Beyond the common interface, the clustering software provides high availability protection for the cluster, with load balancing and failover functionality that provides mission-critical capabilities on low-cost server stacks.

Scalability is also a feature of the /cluster product line. When customers want to add machines to an existing cluster, it can be done on the fly with instant inclusion into the cluster. According to Emic, this sort of transparency is present throughout the use of the /cluster products´┐Żinstallation can be done on any pre-existing configuration, without the need change hardware or software settings to accommodate Emic's software.

Specifically, Emic has targeted its software to work with the JBoss application server, according to Donna Jeker, VP of Marketing and Management. While the company will ultimately include Jonas, Geronimo, and other J2EE-compliant servers in its support list, Emic opted to go with JBoss first due to the high deployment stats for the open source application server.

Emic CEO Eero Teerikorpi sees the growth of application server stacks as increasing in the next year or two, as more and more companies discover the benefits of using LAMJ technologies.

In the past, Teerikorpi explained, only early adopters such as scientific and financial institutions would use high-availability clusters, due to the perceived cost and management overhead of such technologies. Among the Global 2000 companies, there is scarcely any cluster deployment especially using open-source software, because until recently open source was not considered to be capable of mission-critical jobs.

Teerikorpi thinks that his company's product will help dispel that notion, by boosting LAMP and LAMJ stack management so that real high-availability status can be maintained.

By shifting into the LAMJ arena, Teerikorpi believes that Emic will be tapping into a market that is set to explode, as more and more customers who are turning to LAMJ solutions will see the lamj/cluster software as a way to turbo-boost their planned or existing LAMJ stacks.

The /cluster product line has four products at this time: apache/cluster and mysql/cluster, which each manage Apache and MySQL clusters, respectively. If the customer for either of these products should wish to expand their solutions into the broader lamp/cluster or lamj/cluster application, an additional licensing fee will unlock the code for a fast transition.

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