Ken Moreau's Survey Writings

A few years ago I became interested in clustering of computer systems for high availability, but rapidly became very frustrated that all of the existing literature clearly stated that every product from every vendor was "industry leading" with "unique features found in no other product" and was clearly the only possible choice for every possible business situation.  When actual comparisons with other products were done, they were usually comparing their extremely new (and often either just released or not yet released) products with competitors products from multiple years ago, and frequently left off any competitive feature which was in any way comparable or superior to their own product.  Further, the different vendors would either use very different buzzwords for the same concept, or the same buzzword for very different concepts, in an attempt to either claim that they were the only one with this feature (because they called it something different) or that their feature was the same as the competitors (because they used the same buzzword).

As such, I began writing "survey" whitepapers which attempt to fairly and completely describe the state of the industry for specific topics.  I began with clustering of computer systems, but have since added computer processors and virtualization technologies.  At the request of many of my customers, I have included a full day seminar on best practices for highly available computing environments.

These papers have been presented to many groups, including Digital Equipment Corporation Users Society (DECUS), Encompass, Connect, Hewlett-Packard Technical Forum, OpenVMS Bootcamp and dozens of private meetings. 

Note that all of the documents include a version number in their file name.  All of the technologies that I am describing are undergoing constant revision and updating, and these papers track those changes.  As such, I have included a level of version control so that people who have seen previous versions of these papers will be aware of the additions that I have made.

All of these papers were and are written as an employee of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Compaq Computers and Hewlett-Packard Company.  Therefore, they are all copyrighted by Hewlett-Packard Company 2008.  However, all of the information in these documents came from public sources.  There is no restriction on their distribution, as long as the copyright notice in each document remains in place.  All of the products, technologies, copyrights and trademarks are the owners of the respective companies, and no infringement is intended.

I welcome comments and feedback on these documents.  Please reply to or  Thanks in advance.

A Survey of Cluster Technologies V2.6

This presentation (Microsoft PowerPoint, 700KBytes) and whitepaper (Microsoft Word, 3.1MBytes) surveys the cluster technologies for the operating systems and products available from many vendors, including IBM AIX, HP-UX, Linux, HP NonStop Kernel, HP OpenVMS, PolyServe Matrix Server, Sun Microsystems Solaris, HP Tru64 UNIX, Microsoft SQL Server 2000/2005 and Microsoft Windows 2000/2003. In addition I discuss some technologies which operate on multiple platforms, including MySQL Cluster, Oracle 10g Real Application Clusters, and Veritas clustering products. You will learn the common functions which all of the cluster technologies perform, see where they are the same and where they are different on each platform, and how to match the different technologies to business requirements.


A Survey of High Availability Technologies V4.1

This presentation (Microsoft PowerPoint, 13.6MBytes) surveys the high availability technologies available for today's mission critical systems, which are used to achieve business continuity inside a data center and disaster recovery between data centers. I will discuss the design of highly available application servers, database servers, networks, storage and application environments, and how the high availability technologies are implemented on various operating systems, databases, storage and middleware, showing specific examples of real world systems. You will learn how to tradeoff recovery time and cost, and how to match the different technologies to business requirements.


A Survey of Processor Technologies V2.0

This presentation (Microsoft PowerPoint, 3.2MBytes) surveys the processor technologies available in the industry today, including HP Alpha, Intel Itanium 2, AMD Opteron, HP PA-RISC, Intel Pentium, IBM Power5 and Sun UltraSPARC. You will learn the common functions of the micro-processors including cache, register remapping, predication, pipelining, threading, multi-core and processor interconnects, seeing where they are the same and where they are different. We will discuss 64-bit technology in detail, working through the marketing hype to understand the reality for each processor type.


A Survey of Virtualization Technologies V2.0

This presentation (Microsoft PowerPoint, 8.4MBytes) and whitepaper (Microsoft Word, 2.2MBytes) surveys the server, storage, network and desktop virtualization technologies available in the industry today. Server virtualization includes hard partitioning, soft (virtual) partitioning, micro-partitioning and resource partitioning. Storage partitioning includes comparing host-based and storage-based RAID, a discussion of multi-pathing and redundant components across the entire path from the host to the disk, data management across storage tiering, storage virtualization inside a single cabinet and between cabinets, as well as shared file system virtualization. Network virtualization includes subnetting, a discussion of multi-pathing and redundant components, namespace management and address failover. You will learn the common functions of virtualization for the products available from all of the major vendors, seeing where they are the same and where they are different. You will learn the common functions which all of the virtualization technologies perform, see where they are the same and where they are different on each platform. Particular emphasis will be placed on management of virtualization, and how it is the same and different from managing non-virtualized environments. We will focus on the business problems which can be solved by virtualization, and discuss how to match the different technologies to specific business requirements.