Compaq, Intel, MS team on clustering spec

Compaq Computer Corp., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. today announced a new specification for connecting a variety of inexpensive servers in a cluster to run large applications quickly and reliably.

The Virtual Interface Architecture Version 1.0 specification, which is media, processor and operating system independent, will enable a new class of scalable cluster products offering high performance and a low total cost of ownership, according to officials with the three companies.

Hardware and software that meet the specification will be able to transfer data very quickly between servers. This will enable corporate users who previously used a mainframe to put large, critical applications on a cluster of Intel-based servers, the officials said.

Clustering technologies traditionally have been targeted at high-end computing because they required proprietary hardware and software, which can carry a relatively high price tag. Because they were proprietary, there were relatively few applications written for them. The VI Architecture spec will provide a standard for less expensive Intel-based servers that application developers can write to.

More than 100 companies and organizations