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Qlusters: Pioneer of the Linux Qlass

Running a successful data center requires good, scaleable clustering tools, and startup Qlusters Inc. hopes to become a leader at providing them for commodity Linux servers.

Qlusters -- the Q is just to stand out, they say -- was formed in 2001 out of Israeli-based R&D and two rounds of venture capital, CEO Dave Martin says. The company announced a software upgrade this week and has big plans for next year, according to Martin.

"The purpose of the company is to facilitate Linux in the data center with the utility computing model. There's been a layer of software on top of, say, a Sun Solaris server that provides high availability, [but] there's been no equivalent for Linux."

Qlusters' tool is not the first industry attempt at making this, but the software -- ClusterFrame 1.8 -- conducts failover processes in seconds instead of minutes, says Martin. It does that by using advanced techniques for distributed shared memory, cache coherence, and lock management, and it scales to hundreds of servers, compared to dozens in prior versions, he claims.

Martin didn't elaborate on how that works, but he estimates Qlusters, in Palo Alto, Calif., has up to a two-year lead over clustering technology from big companies like Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW). To maintain that lead, he says, Qlusters early next year will offer the ability to change hardware resources while applications and processes continue to run, and throughout next year will make all of its software work on Java.

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