March 24, 1997 10:00 AM ET
Novell extends cluster reach
Wolf Mountain lays the framework for bridging cross-platform solutions
By James Gruener

  Novell Inc. this week will formally unveil its Wolf Mountain clustering technology, through which it will attempt to unite current clustering methods, network protocols and transports under a common framework.

The 64-bit clustering technology, which Novell will demonstrate at its Brainshare conference in Salt Lake City, is designed to provide highly scalable, fault-tolerant services on Intel Corp. servers running IntranetWare, Windows NT or Unix, sources close to Novell said.

"They see themselves in a catalyst role," said Jean Bozman, an analyst with International Data Corp., in Mountain View, Calif., on Novell's recent clustering strategy. "They are creating technology that they will allow others to pull together."

Wolf Mountain, which will run on 32-bit or forthcoming 64-bit Intel systems, includes an "OS Loader" multithreaded architecture comprising modular, C-based source code, sources said. It includes a symmetric multiprocessing kernel, a debugger, a memory manager and an interrupt system, effectively functioning as an operating system.

OS Loader allows users to plug in other operating systems, such as IntranetWare, NT or Unix. It also will come with a Java virtual machine for running Java applications.

Wolf Mountain will include CICP (Clustering Interconnect Protocol), an abstraction layer designed to support a wide range of clustering solutions, such as No Remote Memory Access, Cache-Coherent Non-Uniform Memory Access and, eventually, I2O, sources said. It also will support IPX, TCP/IP and Native IP.

CICP will work with a variety of subsystems, including Fibre Channel and Serial Storage Architecture, across LAN, asynchronous transfer mode, fiber and other network transports, the sources said.

High-speed interconnects for Wolf Mountain are being built by Dolphin Interconnection Solutions Inc., of Westlake Village, Calif., and Tandem Computers Inc., of Cupertino, Calif., which is providing it with ServerNet. Dolphin has made a PCI card, switches and some drivers for Wolf Mountain that will provide 200MB-per-second data transmission with low latency, sources said.

Wolf Mountain includes a Unified File Object Directory that uses three-dimensional storage address space and provides fault tolerance. The directory provides support for distributed caching, disk pooling and segment mirroring, according to the sources. It will work with NetWare Core Protocol, Novell Directory Services and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, they said.

The Novell clustering technology is due commercially late this year, the sources said.

Novell officials in Provo, Utah, declined to comment.

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