Marathon Offers High Availability with Low Hassles

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Marathon Technologies offers a different approach to high availability and fail over with everRun HA Version 7.1.1 for physical and virtual Windows Server environments.

Complexity and costs have long been the stumbling blocks preventing smaller businesses from deploying high availability or fail-over solutions. After all, building those solutions is still a challenge for even the most tech-savvy solution providers, especially when constrained by budgets and schedules.

Some think the answer to this dilemma lies with clustering technology, but many are finding that the needed investments in hardware, software and knowledge place clusters out of reach for most small enterprises. Does this mean that VARs should avoid implementing high availability for those smaller enterprises? In a word "no," thanks to Marathon Technologies!

Marathon is offering a different approach to the high availability market: a software-only approach that leverages virtualization concepts and eliminates the need for specialized hardware. The company offers several products aimed at the high availability market, but solution providers will want to take note of Marathon everRun HA, a software application that takes redundancy to a higher level.

What makes everRUN HA so different from other solutions is how the product is deployed. The product delivers extremely high levels of application availability while protecting applications, data, networks and operating systems from faults, failure and dropped network connections by synchronizing two standard Windows servers to create a virtual application environment.

In other words, two Windows servers are mirrored into a virtual environment, every process, transaction or event is duplicated in real time on both systems. If one system or application fails, then a technology called "ComputeThru" masks the failure from the virtual environment. Everything continues to work, and the administrator is informed of a failure.

Designed to run on standard Windows servers, everRun HA eliminates the need for special "cluster-aware" applications, tedious scripting, specialized hardware or complex coding. Any out-of-the-box Windows application can be installed and managed in the virtual environment just as if it were a single physical stand-alone server. Solution providers will find that one of the key selling points for everRun HA is the fact that it works with regular Windows applications.

Installation of everRun HA is straightforward, excellent documentation speeds the installation chores, and well illustrated tips and tricks help installers avoid hassles.

EverRun HA requires two servers for use as CoServers, each with two physical processors, two cores or Intel's Hyper-Threading functionality. The product needs at least two processors per CoServer because it dedicates one processor to running the virtual server and the other to running the CoServer itself.

Each server must have at least 768MB of RAM, a Gigabit Ethernet adapter for keeping servers in sync and another Ethernet adapter for a network connection. Interestingly, the servers need not be identical. That allows companies to base their secondary CoServer on lower cost hardware then the primary server.

Initial testing of the product allowed us to simply yank the plug on the primary server and have everything on the network continue to function. No data was lost, and there was no interruption of services. A browser-based management console keeps tabs on the current status of the "virtual pair" and allows administrators to perform operations associated with the CoServer environment.

Bringing a failed server back up proves to be quite simple. Once the failed unit comes back on line, an administrator can simply instruct the server to rejoin the environment, which will execute a synchronization process which quickly recreates the mirrored environment.

The product enables VARs to do much more than just fail over or high availability; the way everRun HA works allows single servers to be taken off line for upgrades or patching and then tested before being rejoined to the network. That capability can prove to be a major time saver when prototyping network changes. To further support that capability, the product offers uninstall capabilities that allow administrators to roll back changes or use dynamic updates. Dynamic updates allow administrators totemporarily" install patches, upgrades or applications for testing and then choose whether or not to discard those changes.

EverRun HA costs $7,500 per system for single-socket servers, $10,000 per server for dual-socket machines and $12,500 for servers with more than two sockets—that's in addition, of course, to the costs for the CoServer hardware and for the two Windows Server 2003 licenses.

The company operates the Marathon Infinity Partner Program to interested resellers. All sales are fulfilled via registered partners. There are two levels to the partner program, Preferred and Elite. Partners are required to meet annual revenue targets, attend product training seminars, participate in sales training and offer first-level support to their customers.

Pointer Click here to read more about Marathon's partner program.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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