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  1. Technology
August 25, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft Corp yesterday agreed to acquire tiny technology company Valence Research Inc for its clustering and load balancing software. Financial details were not disclosed. Valence was formed in 1992 by engineers from Intel Corp to develop PC-LAN clustering software offering both high-availability and scalabilty. It has just five employees. The VX-100 hardware clustering product, for NT and Novell NetWare systems, first launched in 1993, has been identified as a precursor to more recent developments such as Tandem Computers Inc’s ServerNet and the Virtual Interface Architecture championed by Intel and Compaq Computer Corp. Its Convoy Cluster software, which speeds up TCP/IP services and improves their ability to avoid outages, aims to add scalabilty to Microsoft’s Cluster Server (Wolfpack) software, currently limited to two host failover clusters. Up to 32 NT systems can participate in a Convoy Cluster, with the software partitioning incoming client requests among them. Microsoft will rename the software Windows NT Load Balancing Service, and will use it in conjunction with Microsoft Exchange Server and Proxy Server. It’s already deployed as part of Microsoft’s online infrastructure, on services such as the high volume and web sites. Microsoft says the software complements the Wolfpack technology included in NT Server Enterprise Edition, and will make the Valence software a standard component of the operating system.

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