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Memset, the UK's leading virtual machine cloud provider has today announced the launch of an innovative clustering and vLAN facility for their Miniserver VM® virtual machine service, delivering enterprise-level resilience and security for a fraction of the usual cost.

Memset have made it possible for their Miniserver VM®s and dedicated servers to share the same vLAN, enabling their Performance Patrol™ load balancing and clustering service to work with a mixture of virtual and physical servers. Where a customer would normally have to rent a cluster of fully dedicated servers to achieve enterprise-level resilience, Memset are able to deliver the same levels of resilience at a fraction of cost by bringing VMs into the mix.

For example, many mid-sized enterprise applications need a powerful database server at their core, and use a number of light-weight front-end nodes. With this new technology, the front end nodes can be VMs, capable of being rapidly scaled in response to demand, while still having the dedicated server core. The alternative would either be an entirely dedicated cluster, or re-writing the application to use a non-relational, scalable database which is not always practical.

Further, allowing VMs to share a vLAN greatly enhances security of virtual server deployments by allowing entirely secure communications between the VMs. In the past the lack of such facilities has led to security concerns over cloud computing.

Memset, already a cloud pioneer having started offering VMs in 2002, have again out-maneuvered their larger competitors such as Amazon EC2 who do not offer mixtures of commoditised cloud computing VMs with traditional dedicated servers or managed hosting.

Nick Craig-Wood, Memset's Technical director, said: "There were three main development steps in order to allow this mixing of servers types in one cluster; implementation of dynamic switch reconfiguration for vLANs, automation load balancing and clustering systems configuration, and bridging of the VMs onto vLANs”

The solution is also ideal for test and development platforms since VMs can now be used and disposed of rather than whole dedicated servers to test out a clustered installation before full deployment.

Kate Craig-Wood, MD of Memset said: “By making clustering, load-balancing and vLANs available on our Miniserver VM®s, we've made a conscious effort to mix the low-cost and flexibility of cloud computing together with the best of traditional enterprise managed hosting, saving our customers money and carbon without compromising reliability or security.”