Clustering firm to knock on data centre doors

Meiosys Inc., a start-up that specializes in moving applications among physical servers to maximize performance and availability, is working with systems vendors to bring its technology to enterprise data centres.

The company has focused on the high-performance technical computing market since it was founded in 2000, but the latest release of its MetaCluster software is designed specifically for corporate customers. Its technology virtualizes systems at the application level, meaning that applications, their connections and processes are separated from the physical hardware on which they run.

As a result, stateful applications can be moved without disruption to end users or processes, says Jason Donahue, Meiosys CEO. Using Meiosys’ technology, enterprise users do not have to provision excess hardware in case of spikes in demand because the application can be spread out on more servers if needed and then scaled back automatically.

“What they’re providing is a container around an application so that the application can move between servers,” says Scott Donahue, vice-president at Tier 1 Research and no relation to the Meiosys executive. “So if an application is running on a server and it’s requiring more processing power than the server can give, (Meiosys) allows you to take that application and move it to another server that has more availability or is a higher-performance server.”

“What’s important about that move is that it doesn’t disconnect the users or kill any of the processes,” he says. “It does it in real time on a live system.” Scott Donahue says other firms such as Ejasent — where Jason Donahue was formerly CEO and which Veritas Software Corp. acquired last year — offer similar application virtualization capabilities. But he says Meiosys is slightly ahead of the game because its product has been in commercial deployment for some time now.

Meiosys this week introduced MetaCluster 3.0, which includes a new management layer that lets corporate customers set policies for application relocation based on business rules. In addition, Version 3.0 features XML-based application hooks so that its management tools can be integrated into enterprise management suites such as IBM Tivoli and Computer Associates Unicenter.

It can run on Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. chips. The product will be available on Solaris 8 on Sparc in the first quarter and will be ported to Solaris 10 soon after, Meiosys says. Applications do not have to be modified to be virtualized with MetaCluster.

Meiosys officials say they are working with systems vendors, including Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., which use MetaCluster as part of their on-demand computing products.

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