Microsoft Taking on Big Iron, Clustering With Server 2008

Microsoft Taking on Big Iron, Clustering With Server 2008

The beta of Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 RC1 has been out a few weeks - - during a slow period for the technology industry - - so we've only begun to see a trickle of industry comment and opinion about the software so far. This much is certain: Thanks to Microsoft, 2008 will be an interesting year to cover the technology industry.

Server 2008 is the first, real fruit based on the controversial collaboration agreement between Microsoft and Novell, and it's also Microsoft's boldest move yet into virtualization. It also appears to be Microsoft's most aggressive move to date into an area that was once the province of companies like IBM, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard: clustering.

Robert Larson, an architect on Microsoft's TechNet blog network, has written a detailed, step-by-step guide to building a host cluster using Microsoft's Hyper-V Beta 1 technology:

For those that have built host clusters in Virtual Server, you will find the process in Windows 2008 and Hyper-V much more streamlined and user friendly. One major improvement is the integration of Hyper-V as a cluster aware application and native support for making a virtual machine highly available.

He then provides a ten-step checklist for building out a virtual cluster using the software. The software management console provides "create a cluster" and "manage a cluster" options along the way. Microsoft provides features like "node failover" along with Hyper-V. Could that mean the Blue Screen's days are numbered, at least on the server side? (Imagine if we all had "failover" capabilities going back to Windows 95.)

Keith Combs, an IT evangelist and a Microsoft colleague of Larson, writes that "if you are the heavy metal sort and get your jollies by building clustered server configurations, then we have new tools for your tool belt." Availability of Server 2008, though, would appear aimed now at bringing those sorts of clustering capabilities to the masses - - including any Mom and Pop shop with a server in the back.