Microsoft is exhausting data center managers' objections to running Windows in the data center. With its recently announced Multipath I/O (MPIO), applications running on Windows 2000 Server and .NET Server will access an I/O fabric across multiple channels.
Multipathing solves two problems: It provides for failover and load balancing between the multiple SCSI or Fibre Channel adapters.
"Many people will not run, say, an Oracle database without multipathing software," says Rahul Mehta, CEO at storage software vendor NuView.
Unix and mainframe operating systems are no strangers to multipathing. Veritas also delivers multipathing capabilities in Volume Manager, as does EMC with PowerPath.
Veritas and EMC are just two of the 23 vendors that have pledged to support MPIO. Why? "They're doing it so they can offer seamless support to the Windows environment, and not have to rely on third-party software," says Rick Walsworth, director of product marketing at Maranti Networks, which is building an MPIO-compliant multiprotocol switch.