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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Sat, Oct 3, 1998
Three Months Left...
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
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 Get Your Hands On Convoy While You Still Can!
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October 3, 1998

Hi All, 

You may have missed this so I'm making it a single NewsFlash, it's
may be too important for you to let this fall through the crack.

The message is simple. If you are running a mission critical web-
server (either intra- or InterNet) you can now cluster those machines
to have both fault tolerance _and_ scalability with a third party 
utility called Convoy Cluster Software.

Sunbelt selected this tool a year ago as our research indicated it
was the best on the market. Well apparently Microsoft thought the
same thing and they recently acquired the developer of Convoy, a
company called Valence Research.

Why this NewsFlash? Convoy Cluster Software is for sale as a separate
product only until the end of this year. At that time it will be
integrated as a module of Win NT Enterprise Edition and you will NOT
BE ABLE TO BUY IT ANYMORE AS A SEPARATE UTILITY. Microsoft and Valence
have assigned Sunbelt as the exclusive distributor until that time.

After that time, the only way you will be able to use Convoy, which
will be renamed Microsoft® Windows NT® Load Balancing Service (WLBS)
is to acquire NT EnterPrise Edition. End of this year Microsoft will
make an announcement about pricing and availability.

This morning I received a "Microsoft: This Week!" e-mailer where they
have explained in detail how they use Convoy on their own definitely
mission critical www.microsoft.com and also a case study on a large 
online bookstore www.barnesandnoble.com. This is the item I just got:

-------------------------------------------------------
TOP STORIES
· Behind the Curtain at microsoft.com
http://www.microsoft.com/backstage/default.htm
How did Microsoft achieve record Web site availability? 
Go Backstage and say goodbye to server errors, courtesy 
of the Single IP solution.
-------------------------------------------------------

So I went over there and read it. They call the concept a 'Single 
IP Solution' and that is an excellent way to put it. They have a 
_really_ interesting schematic of the Microsoft cluster that is 
worth looking at all by itself. They have done a pretty impressive 
job there! Since they installed Convoy, their availability stats 
were much, much better. They even have a graph that shows it.

Furthermore, they have a very good 17-slide PowerPoint presentation
that you can download. Microsoft is showing all the benefits and 
technical capabilities of Convoy. They also mention that it is not 
available via Microsoft yet and refer back to Valence and Sunbelt. 

So, you have 3 months to make up your mind. To make it simple, here 
are the prices so that you can start allocating some of your budget 
right away. Concoy comes in three flavors:

Small Cluster : 2 Nodes - $ 2,000
Medium Cluster : 8 Nodes - $ 6,000
Large Cluster : 32 Nodes- $ 20,000
(This includes tech support and bug fixes by the way)

Now, just Convoy all by itself is not enough. You need these web
servers to have identical 'inetpub' directories, as you do not know
what IP request gets load-balanced to what server. We recommend you
get a copy of DoubleTake which is a great and very cost effective
real time mirroring utility that only copies the data that changes
and not the whole file (like replication does which kills performance).

DoubleTake was chosen as Editors Choice of Windows NT Magazine July
this year, over all other mirroring/failover solutions including
Octopus. We have the combination Convoy - DoubleTake running on our
own webcluster in Sunbelt and they work great together.

Here is the link to our Convoy webpage for a 2-node 30-day eval:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/convoy.htm

This is the way to download your Double-Take 30-day eval:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/dtake.htm
We have links to the Windows NT Magazine Website and extensive 
comparison charts that show the features and benefits of all mirroring 
tools on the market today.

The combo Convoy-DoubleTake gets you a best-of-breed 'uptime' 
solution for your webservers. You've got only three months, better
hurry...

Warm regards,

Stu Sjouwerman

(email me with feedback: [email protected])