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20 tips in 20 minutes: Clustering explained

What you will learn from this tip: SearchStorage.com readers frequently ask questions about using clustering for storage. This article offers a collection of expert responses to recent reader queries.

In the past year or so, there has been a lot of interest in clustering

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among users of the Ask The Expert section of SearchStorage.com. According to Greg Schulz, senior analyst with Evaluator Group, this surge of interest in clustering is largely due to the increased availability of easier to implement and more affordable open technology.

Clustering is defined as the use of multiple computers, multiple storage devices and redundant interconnections, to form what appears to users as a single highly available system. A basic cluster is made up of two servers of similar or identical hardware specifications, each with two data paths to two sets of disks that are mirrored one to the other. Clusters can use load balancing to equalize processing tasks between cluster members, and can employ parallel processing to tackle complex and demanding processing tasks. Clustering has been around for a couple of decades in various implementations, and IT professionals continue to find new uses for it.

"Moving forward, clustering will become even more popular for servers and storage morphing into what will be called grids," says Schulz. "As IT organizations need to continue to scale availability locally and remotely along with enhancing performance and capacity in a resilient and adaptive manor, clusters will grow in popularity."

Click on the links below to check out what people like you want to know about clustering, and learn more about this often-discussed topic from our experts' advice.

SAN clustering

  • Using iSCSI for clustering
  • Limiting access to a SAN volume
  • Using clusters to ensure failover
  • Is a SATA disk appropriate for a Windows file server cluster?
  • Sharing a LUN between windows and making it a cluster
  • Building a four-node SAN cluster
  • Is it possible to SAN boot using an iSCSI adapter?
  • Non-distributed clustering
  • Swapping out SANs without damaging clusters
  • How to assign LUNs in a SAN
  • Designing a SAN with multiple servers using serverless backup
  • NAS clustering

  • Is it possible to implement a cluster with NAS technology?
  • CIFS and protocols
  • Database clustering

  • Two-node cluster over Oracle 9i
  • Replicating a SQL2000 cluster
  • Replication: Sun vs. Veritas
  • Clustering products for Windows
  • LUN sharing
  • Clustering for high availability

  • Clustering for high availability
  • Configuring SANs for high availability

  • This was first published in December 2005

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