I recently spoke with a couple of folks from Marathon Technologies, Steve Keilen, VP of Marketing, and Michael Bilancieri Director of Products, about a new product they were launching everRun VM. I've posted about Marathon a couple of times in the past. For those interested in a trip down memory lane, its time to get out the milk and cookies, put another log on the fire and look at my earlier posts Conversation with Marathon Technology and Marathon Technologies launches everRun CDP. The company has developed a very interesting, quite comprehensive and technically challenging approach to gaining control of both physical and virtual systems in order to provide high levels of availability and reliability while also allowing a detailed understanding of what's actually happening inside of those resources.
Here's how Marathon describes everRun VM
Here are a few selected snippets from Marathon Technologies' announcement materials.
Marathon Technologies Corporation announced everRun VM, the world’s first fault-tolerant, high availability software for server virtualization. Based on the same everRun® automated availability software employed by over 1800 organizations,
everRun VM prevents outages and data loss in Citrix XenServer virtual infrastructures. The significance of this new software for the IT industry is threefold:
- Companies can now reliably run high value production applications in virtual machines, gaining the benefits of virtualization across a much broader range of applications
- It will now be practical to make high availability and DR a standard part of the IT infrastructure for midsize and larger companies
- A key component is in place to accelerate the next wave of server virtualization adoption
Through tight integration with Citrix XenServer, everRun VM breaks through the availability bottleneck by providing:
- Completely Automated VM Availability - everRun VM automates VM availability setup and configuration - usually deployed in thirty minutes or less. It also automates fault and policy management – it literally maintains itself.
- Flexibility to Dial-in Availability by Virtual Machine – everRun VM lets IT administrators select the availability protection for each virtual machine (VM) so they can match the right availability level for each application running in a VM. The end result – optimal availability price/performance because companies only pay for the protection they need.
- Application Independence – everRun VM supports all Windows applications without any modifications.
everRun VM removes the burden of availability for IT professionals and makes automated HA and DR practical for midsized companies.
So how does it work?
Marathon Technologies took an approach that is as exacting as it is interesting. They've developed a layer of software that can stand between the hardware and the hypervisor and another layer that can stand between the hypervisor an the virtual machine. This layer allows everRun VM to monitor and control all of the interactions either the hypervisor or the virtual machine has with its environment. This means that it is possible to better understand what's actually happening and
make sure that an operation completes even if one physical machine or its resources are no longer available.
The company plans to add the ability to keep virtual machines in lock-step with one another, just like fault tolerant physical machines are kept in lock-step so that failures won't be allowed to surface.
Marathon has taken an approach that few others in the industry have taken and the results appear to be good. I guess I'll have to speak with one of their customers to get their take on it. It appears to me that if an organization requires a highly available environment for their virtual servers, Marathon is one of the suppliers that can make that a reality.