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Virtually Speaking: eVerRun Gets Ever More Virtual
Marathon Technologies has long-skirted the virtual playing field with its eVerRun offering. This week, it launched everRun VM, a version of everRun specifically designed for virtual environments. The offering is being positioned for midsize companies, which generally have the tech savvy and desire to deploy cutting-edge technologies, but often lack the resources. The latest from Marathon Technologies tightens the company's Xen underpinnings and brings it further out on the virtual playing field. Xen, meanwhile, also strengthened its virtual ties with HP.
Such a solution, therefore, "has to be easy enough for the midmarket customer to digest," Gary Phillips, president and CEO of Marathon Technologies, told ServerWatch. Installation, configuration, and especially maintenance had to be simple, he said.
Based on the same technology as its older sibling, everRun VM enables companies to virtualize a wider range of applications, facilitating faster adoption of server virtualization.
Last April, Marathon hitched its wagon to Xen, when its v-Available initiative integrated the ISV's everRun software with XenEnterprise. This week, it pulled the reigns tighter with everRun VM, which chose XenServer as the underpinnings of its virtual infrastructures.
Phillips noted, however, that although Marathon has no plans to work with VMware at this time, everRun VM will be compatible with Windows Server 2008 when Hyper-V comes out due to XenServer's interoperability with the operating system.
Marathon selected XenServer largely for its "bare-metal" performance, an attribute that was no doubt a selling point when HP selected XenServer to be the key component in the HP ProLiant Virtual Console. Beginning next week, XenServer will be preinstalled on 10 HP ProLiant systems, a combination that aims to deliver, "unprecedented simplicity to speed virtual deployments and completely integrate and hide anything to do with virtualization from the end user," Citrix CTO Simon Crosby told ServerWatch.
The software, Crosby noted, will be installed at point of sale on ProLiants and will be available as an upgrade on servers already deployed. Organizations will also have the option of buying a single server or single license key that will enable them to cluster servers together to form a resource pool.
Marathon is presenting everRun VM as bringing high availability to XenServer without the bottleneck that often accompanies the functionality. It argues that it does this by automating VM availability during the setup and configuration stages, as well as through automating fault and policy management; providing availability protection for each VM as appropriate; and offering application independence such that all Windows applications are supported without any modifications.
The everRun VM application itself will function transparently. As long as it's running on a WAN, it doesn't matter how dispersed the servers are, Marathon CTO Jerry Melnick told ServerWatch.
The product is actually the one of three availability solutions Marathon plans to offer for virtual environments. Melnick describes the choices as "best-effort restart," as in enterprises can choose what level of protection they require for a given server.
The first option, and the one Marathon is currently describing is component-level failover. That solution is currently in beta, and general availability is scheduled for April. Melnick describes this as a Level 2 solution. Level 3, system-level fault-tolerance, for those who need complete availability, will be available at the end of the year. Level 1, or "basic failover," which Melnick describes as ideal for print servers, leverages what's in the Xen platform. This will be available at the end of the year as well.
eVerRun VM is obviously not the only high availability solution for virtual infrastructures out there. What truly sets it apart, according to Melnick, is a vendor that is actively testing it at all times.
Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch. She has been covering virtualization since 2001.