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Articles in Clustering

10 things to look for in a data center

(Erik Eckel, TechRepublic) Going to the cloud might make a lot of sense for your organization — but only if you choose a secure, reliable data center that can handle your needs. Erik Eckel runs through 10 essential criteria for data center evaluation.

Everyone’s going to the cloud. The cloud’s all the rage. Almost no IT discussion is complete without mentioning “the cloud.” But when it comes down to it, the cloud is nothing more than systems hosting information in a data center somewhere “out there.”

Unfortunately, not every data center is ready for prime time. Some have sprung up as part of a cloud-based land grab. Review these 10 factors to ensure that your organization’s data center is up to the task:
1. Data capacity
2. Redundant power
3. Backup Internet
4. Automatic hardware failover
5. Access control
6. 24×7x365 support
7. Independent power
8. In-house break/fix service
9. Written SLAs
10. Financial stability
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Five cloud security trends experts see for 2011

(Bob Violino, CSO) What do CSOs and other IT security experts expect to be top-of-mind cloud security issues in 2011? Here are five things to watch for in the coming year:
1. Smart phone data slinging
2. Need for better access control and identity management
3. Ongoing compliance concerns
4. Risk of multiple cloud tenants
5. Emergence of cloud standards and certifications

Read more by following the "full article" link.
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Cloud Computing Is More Likely for Low-Risk Systems: Report

(Don E. Sears, eWeek) Three out of five companies are adopting cloud computing technologies, including private clouds and lower-risk technologies, says a new report.

The main areas of adoption are in lower-risk technology categories. Low-risk services being considered by nearly half of respondents included hosted e-mail, messaging applications, desktop and server virtualization, and storage services. Larger, more complex and already heavily invested applications like ERP systems were only being considered by 10% of companies.

Security and other risk factors are still of the utmost importance to the enterprise, with 79% stating that cloud security is inadequate or unclear. 49% are concerned with integration to legacy systems, and another 49% are concerned about losing company data. Half of respondents worry about noncompliance with regulations, and disaster recovery and business continuity issues.
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Choosing the right cloud platform

(Phil Wainewright, ZDNet) The emergence of a number of self-proclaimed ‘open’ cloud platforms presents any would-be cloud adopter with a confusing plethora of choice. Taking the bigger picture into account, who are the winners likely to be?

For cloud adopters all these offerings, in their various ways, hold out the promise of pursuing a hybrid strategy. They’re attractive because they provide the option of putting some assets in the cloud while keeping others on trusted terra firma — or at the very least, a user can reserve the option of pulling their IT back off the provider’s cloud if they ever need to, avoiding lock-in to a single provider.

There are a number of reasons why you want to adopt a cloud platform that, at the same time as having all that cloud goodness, allows you to move your applications somewhere else should you wish to:
- That all-important comfort feeling
- Architectural portability
- Operational portability
- Service level flexibility
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Set Up a Virtualization Server

(Paul Venezia, ITWorld) If there's one technology that can greatly improve computing environments of any size, it's virtualization. Virtualizing even a small infrastructure can ease administration and reduce costs.

The reasons to virtualize even a small infrastructure come down to ease of administration and cost reductions. Cost reductions come from cutting down the number of physical servers, thus reducing the power and cooling requirements, but they also come in the form of greatly reduced expansion. Rather than having to purchase new hardware to support a new business application, all you need to do is add a new virtual server. If your business has only a single server, virtualization isn't likely to buy you much, but if you have more than two servers or if you plan on expanding anytime soon, virtualization can likely make a difference.

Read more by following the "full article" link.
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Cloud security: The basics

(Mary Brandel, NetworkWorld) Cloud computing is one of the most-discussed topics among IT professionals today. And not too long into any conversation about the most highly touted cloud models - software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or platform as a service (PaaS) - the talk often turns to cloud security.

According to Milind Govekar, an analyst at Gartner, cloud has rocketed up the list from number 16 to number two in Gartner's annual CIO survey of key technology investments. "Like with anything new, the primary concern is security," he says. In fact, the vast majority of clients who inquire about cloud, he says, would rather create a virtualized data center on their own premises - what some call a private cloud - because they're uncomfortable with the security issues raised by cloud computing and the industry's ability to address them.

"We are in the early stages of a fascinating journey into a new computing model that, for all its purported advantages, from a security and risk point of view, is a difficult thing to deal with," agrees Jay Heiser, an analyst at Gartner.[...] For this reason securing cloud computing environments will be a major focus of vendor efforts over the next year, says Jonathan Penn, an analyst at Forrester Research. In the short term, he sees users having to do a lot of the legwork, but over time, "cloud providers themselves will see the opportunity to differentiate themselves by integrating security," he says.
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Virtualization Planning: 4 Systems Management Keys to Success

(Glenn O'Donnell and Rachel Dines, CIO) As virtualization management tools proliferate, consider carefully how these tools fit into your IT processes and management portfolio. Keep your eye on these key system management capabilties, says Forrester Research.

The explosive growth of today's virtualization management market is good news for organizations looking to manage and optimize their virtual environments. Like every technology that has come before it, the route to success with virtualization lies in solid, standardized processes and management software to automate and govern the execution of these processes.

As businesses begin to evaluate tools to help manage their virtual environment, Forrester recommends focusing on four key system management capabilities:
  1. Improve configuration management
  2. Maximize capacity planning and VM placement
  3. Performance Monitoring
  4. Real-time automation
Virtualization is the most potent technology catalyst toward cloud computing, so it is therefore the first step in the journey to industrialize IT. If you want to be in the driver's seat for the future of IT, plan a journey to industrialize your operation and begin that journey by getting your virtual server infrastructure under control.
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IDC Predicts Steady Growth in Cloud Server Market Through 2014

(Chris Preimesberger, eWeek) Based on IDC's first cloud computing survey focused exclusively on servers, the research company predicts that server revenue in the private cloud category will grow from $7.3 billion in 2009 to $11.8 billion in 2014, or about 62%.

IT researcher IDC reported May 10 that the combination of an aging server installed base, IT managers' increasing need to rein in virtual machines, and a general upturn in the buying environment is boosting sales of commodity-type servers used in public and private cloud-computing systems.

Based on its first cloud computing survey focused exclusively on servers, IDC predicted that server revenue in the public cloud category will grow from $582 million in 2009 to $718 million in 2014. Server revenue for the much larger private cloud market will grow from $7.3 billion to $11.8 billion [about 62 %] in the same time period, IDC said.
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The Virtualization Checklist

(Susan J. Aluise, Washington Technology) Virtualization could be the least sexy, most essential component of cloud computing – and that means whether it’s a top-down, government-wide initiative or a grass-roots, bottom-up project in a small office of a federal agency, it is going to happen.

In consultation with industry analysts, here’s FCW’s checklist on how to do it right:
  1. Take Stock Of What You’ve Already Got
  2. Clean House
  3. Add Virtualization To The Mix
  4. Not All IT Needs Are Created Equal
  5. Look At Bringing Legacy Systems Into The Future
  6. Manage Expectations
  7. Listen Closely To Business/Project Leaders
  8. Focus on Processes
  9. Seek Out Standards And Best Practices
  10. Check Out Private Sector Ideas
  11. Don’t Get Lost In Translation
  12. Get The Right Manager For The Virtual Job
  13. Train As You Fight
To learn more, please click on the "full article" link, or attend this free, live webinar on virtual messaging.
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Need for collaboration will drive apps into the cloud

(Stuart Corner, ITWire) The need to integrate mainstream enterprise applications such as ERP and CRM with unified communications services and make them accessible from any device, anywhere will drive all these applications into the cloud over the next few years.

Verizon Business' UC practice manager, Ben Green, says that the 'unified communications as a service' (UCaaS) platform of the future will provide a full suite of communications services, such as hosted IP telephony, voicemail, email, instant messaging and presence, but more importantly will interface readily to other applications such as ERP and CRM, virtualised and running in the cloud.

He sees this integration as "the next revolution" in unified communications services but predicts that is will likely be around 2015 before the first large scale adoptions take place.
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10 things to consider before deploying a cloud

(Jack Wallen, TechRepublic) If you’re planning to set up a cloud, be forewarned: The process could turn out to be time consuming, complicated, and expensive. Jack Wallen shares his cloud deployment experiences.

Are you thinking about setting up a cloud for deployment in your business or enterprise? Have you planned it out yet? If so, how far have you gotten with it? If you haven’t begun the setup process, check out this list of things to consider before you start deploying that cloud. It might confirm your belief that you’re on the right track — but it could persuade you otherwise.
  1. Time is always an issue
  2. Hardware needs are huge
  3. The process is difficult
  4. Network speed can be a pain
  5. Cost is a deal breaker
  6. Image(s) is(are) everything
  7. Reliability will bring you down
  8. Security is not on duty
  9. It’s not environmentally sound
  10. Platform agnosticism is not a religion
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Axigen Integration with Veritas Cluster Server 5.0

Around two years ago the Axigen Mail Server began the Cluster Support Era with the final touches being added to the SMTP, POP3, IMAP and Webmail proxy services. Back in the day, our main concern was the Red Hat Clustering Suite included in the RHEL5 Linux distribution, developed and maintained by Red Hat, because it was (and still is) one of the most widespread clustering solutions, and also has a free of charge alternative built into CentOS.
However, now that the product has evolved and the product’s exposure to the market has grown considerably, a variety of clustering alternatives have to be supported to meet the demands and requirements of our customers. The year 2009 was very productive from the clustering integration standpoint, as the team had amassed quite a lot of knowledge of incalculable value.

The Veritas Cluster Server version 5.0

Few are the experts in the IT&C industry that have not heard of the Symantec Veritas Cluster suite. It is one of the most advanced and reliable solutions on the market, partly because it has a lot of history behind it. Like most mature products, it has been polished to a great extent and the usability of the product is much higher than its younger counterparts. Nevertheless, for anyone that has not had any contact with the VCS suite before, the shocking ease of use and degree of automation embedded in the product will be a very pleasant surprise.
Like most failover cluster packages, Veritas uses the basic building blocks of the “movable system services”. The cluster is made up of a bunch of systems, called nodes, some resources (like storage devices, IPs, shares and service instances), some zones and some rules by which service migration from one computer to another is governed.

Normally, the cluster installation should take some time, even for the more experienced users that do the preparation phase flawlessly. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it is not the case with VCS5. Within a little under one hour, the entire cluster had been installed and ready to go, on my four cluster nodes, leaving me with the only the task of configuring it. The installation itself is pretty seamless, as the automatic installation wizard does its job without generating issues.

Another feature of the installer I also enjoy is the environment pre-check process that enables you to see whether you overlooked any details during your cluster preparation phase. This feature is also available in the Windows 2003 and 2008 failover cluster suite and is a welcome addition anytime; RHCS, however, is missing this functionality.

To continue to read this whitepaper, please visit: Axigen Integration with Veritas Cluster Server 5.0. Additionally, we invite you to join our free, live webinar on Cluster Computing vs. Cloud Computing to gain a comprehensive insight on the benefits, challenges or opportunities these technologies present for businesses.
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Email Clustering and Cloud Email Services

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about the brand new cloud computing paradigm. Supposedly, through this type of cloud resource, you would get the same performance and user experience levels as with classic systems. Some companies have moved word and spreadsheet processors online, while others plan to allow users to play HD quality games on demand, over the Internet – all striving to move from regular desktop related applications onto the Web.

Cloud computing yields a series of palpable benefits such as a lower TCO for both service providers and their customers, while also attempting to overcome the main concerns of privacy and security advocates in the IT industry.

This white paper aims to compare the older, industry-proven technology used in clustering systems today and the new trend in information technology – cloud computing, and to answer some of the questions revolving around these topics.

Will the Cloud Replace the Cluster?

This is surely the most obvious question of all when it comes down to analyzing the future development of the situation. However, it is one of the most interesting as well, because cloud-type resources are actually served by what is called a decentralized cluster.

Cluster vs. Cloud

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AXIGEN Mail Server & eDirectory Services Integration

This article focuses on the integration between the AXIGEN messaging solution and the eDirectory Services product developed by Novell. The actual level of interaction between the solutions is limited to the user authentication process. Specifically, by following the steps described herein, you will be able to allow the authentication process, that AXIGEN usually performs using the internal database, to be outsourced into eDirectory. This simplifies credential management and ensures password consistency across multiple applications and network services.

AXIGEN Configuration
Prior to proceeding with the AXIGEN / eDirectory Services authentication configuration, you need to enable the LDAP interface for the Novell eDirectory service. Please consult the eDirectory user manual provided by the product vendor on how to achieve this if not already enabled.

Before the AXIGEN server can authenticate account credentials using eDirectory, you need to create an LDAP connector suited for this process:
  • Log in with an administrative user that has sufficient privileges in the AXIGEN WebAdmin interface;
  • Go to the LDAP Connectors tab in the Clustering Setup context;
  • Add a new LDAP connector or edit an already existing one;
  • Enter the IP / Hostname and Port values that reflect the eDirectory configuration;
  • Specify the server type as OpenLDAP, as it closely resembles the eDirectory setup;
  • Select the Use anonymous bind radio button;
  • Enter the Account base DN value. Should look similar to dc=novell, dc=local;
  • Leave the other options unchanged (should be set to default if already modified) and save the new configuration.
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High Availability Messaging Solution Using AXIGEN, Heartbeat and DRBD

In today’s business environments, we often hear the term ‘high-availability’. Whether a hardware or software solution, we aim for redundancy at all levels, so as to maximize the availability of mission-critical services and operations.

HA Messaging Solution Based on Axigen
1. Introduction
This white paper discusses a high-availability solution for the AXIGEN Mail Server, using the Heartbeat package with DRBD.

AXIGEN is a proprietary messaging solution while both Heartbeat and DRBD are open source software released under the GNU Public License (GPL). These software packages can be used together to build scalable and highly available integrated cluster messaging applications on the Linux operating system.
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Clustering Environments

In today’s fast paced world, the importance of having an e-mail service needs no further explanation. We all use it on a daily basis, relying on it to keep in touch with the surrounding world. However, when the throughput of information becomes so great that a simple system cannot keep up with it, new methods must be deployed to cope with the growing requirements of networks and their users. Clusters fill up the gap between the need for faster, more powerful systems, and the safety, reliability and easy management of the already existing networks.
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