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Novell Introduces Clustering Service for NetWare to Ensure Availability of Critical Network Data

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01 Feb 1998

At NETWORLD+INTEROP in Atlanta Novell announced the first product derived from its Wolf Mountain clustering technology, code-named "Orion," to provide customers with unparalleled scalability for network growth and continuous access to network-based information and applications.

The new service, which will enter beta testing in the first half of 1998, will provide clustering capabilities for the next version of NetWare, code-named "Moab." Orion represents the first milestone in Novell's plan to deliver clustering solutions as part of its leadership in networking services.

Orion enables up to 16 multiprocessor servers, based on the Intel architecture, to work together as a single system for easier network management and faster resource access.

Novell's clustering architecture dramatically reduces the network server as a point of failure on the network, giving users the consistent access to applications and information required in industries such as medical, financial and transportation that cannot afford network downtime.

"Our organization has been using Novell's current clustering technology for some time," said Don Ramsey, information technology architect for Children's Medical Center of Dallas. "We have a mission critical environment and Novell's SFT III solution is a key component in providing us with high server availability. We are very pleased that Novell's upcoming clustering service will let us move forward with a scalable, highly available solution, allowing us to continue providing quality patient care."

Novell designed Orion to give its network customers uninterrupted access to data and applications on the network. Orion shares centralized disk storage across multiple servers in a "cluster" to ensure that if a server goes down, or is taken off-line for maintenance, network resources will be made available immediately from a different server in the cluster.

Orion scales up to 16 nodes, allowing customers to expand their networks as needed by dynamically adding servers to the cluster without service interruption. The technology will support both IP and IPX protocols, giving network customers the freedom to choose which protocols they use now and in the future.

Novell Clustering Direction

Novell's goal is to provide an extremely reliable networking solution for customers by enhancing reliability of the operating system and ensuring continuous access to network data and applications by allowing servers in a cluster to work as a single system.

Today, Novell delivers a proven, reliable server operating environment with extensive recovery capabilities, augmented with hardware safeguards such as drive mirroring, duplexing and Hot-Plug PCI. Novell also ensures a high degree of server availability through its SFT III solution and Novell partner products such as the Vinca StandbyServer product family. With the release of Moab and Orion, customers benefit from consistent access to network data and resources.

"The management capabilities included in Orion are a generation ahead of those defined in Microsoft"s forthcoming Cluster Server product (formerly Wolfpack 1.0)," said Jay Bretzmann, vice president, world wide systems research for International Data Corporation (IDC). "The technology also helps Novell appeal to customers requiring higher levels of system availability for mission critical applications and data. IDC expects Orion, combined with the new Moab NOS release, will create new energy within this market helping Novell retain its development partners and attract new customers."

New Market Opportunities for Partners

Novell is working on partnerships with both hardware and software vendors to develop cluster-enabled solutions for Moab and other network platforms. Novell and its partners will ensure customers can deploy the best clustering solution that fits their specific networking needs.

Companies that Novell is partnering with include: Intel, Oracle, Cheyenne, Compaq, Dolphin, Fujitsu/ICL, G2 Networks, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, ICL, Mitsubishi Electric, NetFRAME, Olivetti, Siemens Nixdorf, Tandem and Unisys.

Product Availability

Orion will enter beta testing in the first half of 1998. The network service will be generally available for purchase in the second half of the same year. Pricing for Orion has not yet been determined. Customers with questions about Orion should visit the Novell Web site at

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


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