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TurboLinux Clusters One More Step Taken

Written By: R. Krause
Published On: November 3 1999

Event Summary

October 26, 1999 - TurboLinux Inc. debuted its anticipated TurboCluster Server, starting at $995 for two-node clusters. The product will scale to cluster 30 Intel-based servers.

To buoy the product, the San Francisco-based company will also announce a number of partners, including the Santa Cruz Operation and Compaq Computer Corp. SCO will provide consulting services for TurboLinux, with an emphasis on consulting for TurboCluster customers, officials of both companies said. A similar services and support deal was struck with LinuxCare Inc., which will offer 24-by-7 support for TurboLinux customers. Compaq, meanwhile, will contribute to TurboLinux's software development. Giganet Inc. will partner with TurboLinux to include its high-speed interconnect drivers in the Linux cluster software. Finally, Enlightened Software Inc.'s cluster server management software will be bundled with TurboCluster as well, TurboLinux officials said. TurboLinux aims to create a profile as high as that of competitor Red Hat Software Inc. with this slew of announcements, officials said.

Market Impact

Presently, Windows NT does not support clusters of more than two servers1 , so this product will provide a competitive advantage in situations where clusters are desired/required. This also helps address one of the reliability issues raised in the infamous "Linux myths" screed. This will translate to increased market growth and market share for Linux.

"Pre-packaged" clustering also provides TurboLinux with an advantage over Red Hat (the current Linux market leader with over 65% of the market) and will gain Linux market share from Red Hat. The alliances TurboLinux has formed with Giganet for high-speed interconnect drivers and with Enlightened Software Inc. for cluster management software makes the TurboCluster Server a more complete offering - rather than having to cobble together a cluster from multiple sources.

Some modest Linux market consolidation will take place: although TurboLinux will draw some customers away from Red Hat, more will be drawn from the other small players, leading to an eventual dropout of one or more of them.

User Recommendations

This will benefit those users who need the scalability and reliability of clustering, and who want to have Linux as an operating system option. This provides added user flexibility in the acquisition process, although the cost/benefit of each OS choice will need to be weighed. Users who do not need clustering's advantages will see little, if any, benefit.

1Windows NT Enterprise Edition architecture supports up to 32 CPUs per server, equaling up to 64 CPUs per cluster. However, present Intel server technology is such that the maximum quantity of CPUs shipping is eight per server. This means that that the current practical limit for Intel-based NT server clusters is 16 CPUs.

 
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