After my earlier blog post on the Best of VMWorld solution for high availability offered by Marathon Technologies, I have received numerous questions about the solution offered by Marathon Technologies specifically for XenServer. Jerry Melnick, the CTO of Marathon, graciously agreed to provide some background info on Marathon Technologies and answer a few other questions.

Barry Flanagan: Many Citrix customers may not be familiar with Marathon Technologies. Can you give us a brief history?

Jerry Melnick: Marathon was founded in 1993 by engineers responsible for developing Digital VAX FT fault tolerant systems. The team used this experience to develop the first software and networking technology that allowed multiple Wintel servers to operate as a single fault tolerant system. In 2003 the company migrated its technology to a software-only product that works with standard off-the-shelf Intel/AMD servers, unmodified Windows and standard, unmodified Windows applications.

Barry Flanagan: Your website describes everRun as Availability Software. What are the three things people show know about how your software solves the problem of unplanned downtime?

Jerry Melnick: First, we don say lightly. Our everRun software keeps critical applications available in industries where downtime equals big bucks, including process manufacturing, gaming, media and broadcasting, financial services and federal markets. We have over 1500 global customers including five of the top ten pharmaceutical manufacturers, four of the top five television networks in the US and over 1000 mid-market companies.

Second, we developed what we call our ComputeThru technology that keeps essential applications running through both network and disk I/O failures. That means they rarely, if ever, experience lost data, lost revenue, or lost productivity due to common system or network failures. And now we working closely with the Citrix to bring our proven availability software to virtual machines. Unlike existing availability solutions that add cost and complexity to the virtual environment, everRun VM is simple and reliable.

Third, everRun provides a much more simplified approach to server availability, whether they physical servers or virtual servers. It completely automates setup, configuration, fault detection and policy management. Automated setup and configuration eliminates the manual configuration other availability solutions require.

Barry Flanagan: Do you have any real world examples of companies who use your solutions?

Jerry Melnick: The world largest commodities exchange uses our software to ensure their pricing board information and order confirmation messages are always available, Wellcome Trust, the organization responsible for the sequencing of one-third of the human genome, uses everRun to guarantee high-availability of genomic data for its research users. And MAN AG, one of the Europe biggest and best truck manufacturers, uses everRun software to make sure all their employees in offices around Germany have continuous access to key applications and data. The division we work with is also a big Citrix customer. You can read about how they use everRun and Citrix software on our site.

Barry Flanagan: Do you have any numbers on the cost of downtime for specific industries?

Jerry Melnick: Here are some industry figures for key applications. Your mileage may vary.

Application Downtime Cost Per Hour
ERP 780,000
Supply Chain Management 660,000
E-Commerce 600,000
Internet Banking 420,000
Customer Service Center 220,000
Electronic Funds Transfer 210,000
Messaging/Email 60,000
Hospital Information System (avg. three hospital IDN with 1400 beds) 60,000
Hospital Information System (avg. single hospital with 500 beds) 15,840

We have an ROI calculator on our web site that can help you determine what downtime on your physical servers is costing your organization

Barry Flanagan: The November 28th webinar listed on your site talks about the Best of VMWorld approach to protecting virtual machines. How did Marathon win a Best of VMWorld award when the product is designed exclusively for Citrix XenServer?

Jerry Melnick: At VMworld, Mendel Rosenblum, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at VMware, highlighted hardware fault tolerance as one of the company three key technology initiatives. But according to Mendel, their solution is still in early development and won be out in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, we demonstrated everRun VM at the show, and we ship the industry first fault tolerant-class virtual machine software in Q1 of next year.

Barry Flanagan: What is different about this webinar? Why should someone working with virtualization technologies attend?

Jerry Melnick: Well, if you didn see the everRun VM showcase at VMworld or iForum, I be explaining how it works. IDC virtualization guru, John Humphreys, will share some real world numbers on virtualization savings based on customer surveys they conducted. And it a great opportunity to hear Simon Crosby (CTO of the Virtualization and Management Division of Citrix) talk about the new economics of server virtualization.

Barry Flanagan: What will an attendee learn from attending this webinar? Are there any takeaways?

Jerry Melnick: John will give you good guidance on how to evaluate and structure your virtualization business case for your management. We be providing attendees with a first chance to use a brand new virtualization and availability ROI calculator that will help make your case. And of course Simon will be thought-provoking as always.

UPDATE: I received pricing info back from Jerry and his team. The final pricing is not yet determined, but here is the TENTATIVE pricing info.

Marathon everRun VM integrated bundle (Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition v4 + everRun VM)

Dual socket: $4500 Quad socket: $9000

Marathon everRun VM only (for upgrading existing XenServer installations)

Dual socket: $2000 Quad socket: $4000

As stated above, this pricing is not yet written in stone.

Thanks to Jerry Melnick for answering our Seven Questions. There will be an opportunity to ask Jerry, John Humpreys and Simon Crosby more questions at the end of the webinar.

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