Emic Becomes Continuent, Shows Off Virtualization

By Dan Muse (Send Email)
Posted Nov 1, 2005


Open source middleware provider Emic Networks today renamed itself Continuent and announced a new database virtualization technology designed to extend high availability and scalability with major databases. Open source middleware provider Emic Networks today renamed itself Continuent and announced a new database virtualization technology designed to extend high availability and scalability across major databases.

Tbe news comes on the first day of the Open Source Business Conference in Newton, Mass. The new products are based on a virtualization technology will "significantly increase our market reach," Eero Teerikorpi, CEO of Continuent, said. "Our focus has been on MySQL, but MySQL is not enough and we're now expanding to support Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and Sybase."

The company decided to make the name change to Continuent because "Emic never really meant anything. We wanted to better communicate what we do," Teerikorpi said. "Continuent provides business continuity in the enterprise by guaranteeing the highest availability and scalability."

Continuent's open source based database virtualization technology is designed to abstract both commerical and open source databases, presenting it as a virtualized database to an application. The result, according to Continuent, is seamless fail-over capabilities with vertical and horizontal scalability and load balancing that are transparent to the application layer.

"Today, data availability is the lifeblood of enterprise success," Teerikorpi said, "Yet current options are simply too narrow to meet the needs of enterprises that are increasingly reliant on data to serve their employees, customers and partners."

Continuent m/cluster (for MySQL) p/cluster (for PostgreSQL) are designed to provide transparent failover and disaster recovering services for all transactions, and automatic continuity at the transaction level with no lost transactions. "Typically, today if a database goes down, any transaction will fail and the user will get an error message. However, our middleware level captures the transaction," Teerikorpi said.

The virtualization technology is designed to provide the right level of performance by scaling to meet application needs. This includes adding low-cost commodity hardware while maintaining the image of a single large database to the application tiers.

"The scalability inherently is not limited," Teerikorpi said. "Practically," he added "there probably is a limit, but we tested it with 64 databases." To ensure the optimal use of hardware investments, a variety of load-balancing configurations are possible, the company says.

Because it supports heterogeneous applications, Teerikorpi said, the technology is "perfect for migration if you are moving from, say, Oracle 8 running on Solaris to Oracle 10 running on Linux." To manage the database environment, a single graphical management console is designed to provide a global view of the virtual databases and the database cluster. Alerts and administrative tools can be generated to notify users of system status.

Continuent m/cluster for MySQL is available immediately with pricing starting at $4,995 per database CPU. p/cluster for PostgreSQL, uni/cluster (universal database support), ms/cluster for Microsoft SQL Server and s/cluster for Sybase will be available in early 2006, Teerikorpi said. Continuent o/cluster for Oracle will available later in 2006, he added. Pricing for those versions has not been determined. "Prices may be slightly higher than for the m/cluster, but we haven't decided yet," he said.

Last month, the company launched Continuent.org, an open source portal and community dedicated to high availability and scalability services for databases and related technologies. The goal of the portal, according to Continuent, is to provide a framework for solving the issues of high availability and scalability associated with either databases used in a heterogeneous environment or tailored to a specific database.

Dan Muse is executive editor of ServerWatch, internet.com's Small Business Channel and EarthWeb's Networking Channel.

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