Cluster Servers

Written by Patricia Skinner
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With individual networks getting larger and more complex, the appearance and use of cluster servers is snowballing. Because computers increasingly need to deal with overwhelming amounts of data, more memory availability and accessibility is needed. The cluster server arrangement meets those needs admirably.

Cluster servers are basically the use of a group, or cluster, of servers that are dedicated to one single use. They are managed as a single system, and each server has a way of accessing the data of the other servers in the cluster. Cluster servers are almost exclusively used for dedicated server applications, and not for general computer applications.

Cluster Servers are More Efficient

Good cluster server software will allow for maximum availability and efficiency in several ways. First, it can allow an administrator to switch workloads around to distribute them evenly between the servers. Second, it can allow for failure to be detected immediately, and for the system to be restarted on a functioning server. This will minimize downtime and can be critical in some applications.

Originally, cluster servers commonly shared resources, such as disks and cabling, which often led to failure in one area also being experienced in another area. The latest format for cluster servers favors the "shared nothing" architecture, so that failure can be alleviated and workload shifted to other servers in the system. This type of system has a higher scalability since there is no functional bottleneck during operation.

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