Oracle Corp gave Windows NT a credibility boost for large system users yesterday by announcing support for two-way failover and four-way clustering. Until now, NT databases have been limited to running on a single server. Oracle Fail Safe uses Microsoft’s forthcoming Wolfpack clustering technology to bring two-node failover to Oracle 7.3 on NT. The clustering software, Oracle Parallel Server for NT, enables up to four servers clustered together to act as a single system. Demonstrating just how far Microsoft has to go before it can tout NT as a replacement to customers with high-end Unix or proprietary systems, Oracle’s parallel database already supports clusters of up to 64 nodes or more running on Unix. It expects to support 16 nodes by year-end. Fail Safe is a failover mechanism which uses Wolfpack to enable a standby server to take over performing tasks in the event a primary server fails. Wolfpack, due in July, will only support two nodes in its first incarnation. Fail Safe is being bundled with Oracle 7.3 and ships within 30 days of Wolfpack’s release. Existing users get a free upgrade. Oracle Parallel Server for NT will support clustered systems from more than 15 vendors including DEC, Compaq, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, NEC, Unisys and Tandem. DEC says it will offer Intel-based Prioris servers running Oracle Parallel Server within 60 days of Oracle’s first general deliveries. DEC promises support for the database running on its NT-based Alpha RISC systems by the end of this year. Parallel Server will support Wolfpack when it scales beyond four node. In the meantime Oracle expects to release an eight-way version of the database by year-end. Oracle Parallel Server includes a Distributed Lock Manager which keeps data consistent across nodes. Oracle Parallel Query distributed queries across all nodes in the cluster while Enterprise Manager provides a single console for managing mixed Oracle database environments which may be NT, Unix or proprietary systems. Oracle Parallel Server for NT ships within 30 days. Pricing will follow then. Oracle’s announcement comes a week ahead of the Windows NT Scalability Day Microsoft is hosting in New York to introduce Wolfpack clustering, plus the Viper Transaction Server and Falcon Message Queue, all of which work in conjunction with a 5.0 Enterprise release of NT Server. Wolfpack is supposed to support 16-node clusters a second incarnation in 1998.