User Interest in Reliability/Availability/Scalability Serverware Software Is Growing, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., November 2, 1999 – At a time when clustering software is increasingly used for high availability of business-critical workloads and Web-enabled workloads for ecommerce, the ability to compare products across market segments is gaining in importance, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).

Over the last two years, IDC has found that user interest in reliability/availability/scalability serverware (RASS) software — and in clustering software as a special type of RASS software — is growing. IT organizations want to ensure that applications and data running on distributed servers will remain available to end users, even if an outage occurs. Even in places where server consolidation is taking place, high-availability software provides important disaster-recovery features: if any single data center goes offline, WAN-enabled high-availability software will ensure that business-critical applications are running, and accessible, in another data center.

"Techniques providing virtual storage and virtual processing are becoming ever more important as organizations strive to make their applications available at all times," said Dan Kusnetzky, program director for IDC's operating environments and serverware services. "RASS software is an important tool making these two concepts real."

IDC has identified some of the key metrics that can be used to identify the feature/function set of a range of high-availability and clustering software environments and has developed a feature/function matrix of major products in this market segment. The matrix provides a level playing field on which to compare more than 30 different software packages that support high-availability, failover, and clustering capability.

The IDC matrix, which is in its second rendition, now includes clustering software from four major market segments by server operating environment: Unix, Microsoft Windows NT Server, Novell NetWare, and traditional host/server platforms, including mainframes and single-vendor platforms.

"We feel the matrix presents a comprehensive view of most of the major high-availability and clustering software packages being sold throughout the industry," said Jean S. Bozman, a research director at IDC who compiled the matrix through a comprehensive industry survey during the spring and summer of 1999. "The matrix will allow vendors and IT managers to compare specific feature/functions across the entire spectrum of computing platforms."

The first edition of the matrix, published in December 1997, focused on clustering software for Unix and NT platforms only. Since then, IDC has defined the new category of RASS software. According to IDC's definition, RASS software includes high-availability software and clustering software, but extends beyond that to embrace a wide array of software that supports highly available applications for end users.

Unlike other published matrix comparisons, the IDC High-Availability Software and Cluster Software Matrix does not select winners or losers in the high-availability/cluster software arena. Instead, it focuses on functionality and lets readers decide for themselves which products best suit their IT requirements. IDC plans to update the matrix periodically as new waves of enhancements appear across the board, affecting products throughout the marketplace.

IDC's bulletin, High-Availability Software and Cluster Software Matrix (IDC #B20474), identifies the feature functions of the major software packages that are used to achieve high availability and clustering for servers. For more information or to purchase the bulletin, contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 4389 or at

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 42 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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