NEC Adds Hyper-V Fault Tolerance

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Oct 28, 2010


More on server virtualization

Back in June, NEC brought fault tolerance to virtualization to its Fault Tolerant (FT) line of servers when it modified the latest generation of its FT Express5800 line to enable customers to run vSphere natively. With this change, FT systems were able to deliver a greater level of availability to VMware guest environments than available through VMware's software alone.

NEC's FT Express5800 can now run Hyper-V, providing a new fault-tolerant virtualization environment for Windows shops. Can virtualized mission-critical apps be far behind?

This week, NEC (NYSE:NIPNY) brought that same level of fault tolerance to Microsoft shops with the addition of support for Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V on NEC Express5800/ft servers. Mike Mitsch, CTO and chief architect NEC Corporation of America, said that this is the first time Hyper-V is running in fault-tolerant (FT) mode because Microsoft doe not have fault tolerance built into its software. In contrast, VMware released a FT version of its software two years ago. In both cases, NEC takes a hardware approach, which is more efficient than doing it at the software layer, Mitsch said.

NEC is not the only hardware vendor to claim fault tolerance for Hyper-V. In early 2009, Marathon Technologies partnered with Microsoft to optimize to Hyper-V to run on its FT everRun family.

Is this a sign that Hyper-V is gaining traction in the enterprise? According to IDC, 25 percent of all of virtual machines are running on Hyper-V. The clear leader remains VMware, but Hyper-V can't be counted out and is steadily gaining ground.

And as we've said often enough, there is still much left to virtualize. This is very much to Microsoft's advantage, as is the fact that Hyper-V is part of its server OS. Also to its advantage is the widespread acceptance of the technology.

Consulting support firm Presidio Networked Solutions encounters near ubiquitous acceptance with "10 out 10 [clients] using virtualization. Not a single customer does not use it," Johan Milbrink, Presidio's data center practice manager, told ServerWatch.

Pretty incredible given that x86 virtualization has been available for less than a decade. For the most part, virtualization has been sought after, or at a minimum accepted, without question, and the technology has yet to plateau or derail; fairly remarkable given the steady hype.

Even more so when one realizes that successful virtualization deployments require "a skill set that goes across the board," Milbrink said.

Milbrink said he believes, "Most organizations understand virtualization is a technology that they need to embrace and they are. The bigger question is are they ready to virtualize mission-critical apps, or are they just interested in the low-hanging fruit?"

As fault tolerance becomes a more widespread option, at the very least the stage is being set for mission-critical apps. Whether enterprises will bite is yet to be seen. But given virtualization's widespread appeal, betting against it would be foolish.

Amy Newman is the senior managing editor of Internet.com's server vertical. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, published by Pearson in 2009.

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