SAN JOSE, Calif. Rainfinity, a provider of scalable Internet reliability software, has announced two modules aimed at distributing network traffic around multiple firewalls or equipment nodes, allowing network sessions to continue uninterrupted in the event of failures.
The San Jose company's RainWall 2.0 Firewall High Availability module and RainSLB 2.0 Server Load Balancing module are part of the overall RainFront software platform. The software is targeted primarily at e-commerce companies to ensure that customer sessions aren't interrupted, but the platform also could have applications within a corporate network, said Laura Demmons, vice president of marketing and business development for Rainfinity.
The modules, due for availability beginning Nov. 30, run on Windows NT, Solaris or Red Hat Linux environments.
Rainfinity's software is designed to handle failovers transparently. That is, a user's session can be transferred from one network node to another without any noticeable interruptions, masking the failure from the user.
Either RainWall or RainSLB will initiate this transfer by issuing a "gratuitous ARP," in which the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) tables on every node are updated, essentially telling the network that the session's address has been changed. The session transfer can be handled in a round-robin fashion by shifting the session to the "next" node, or it can be directed at the server with the lightest load at the time.
The primary job of RainWall is to transfer incoming traffic from one firewall to another in the event of a failure. The module runs on the same server that handles a firewall or virtual private network gateway.
RainSLB performs the functions of a load-balancing server and can sit on the same server as RainWall. While companies such as Alteon Web Systems Inc. (San Jose) or F5 Networks Inc. (Seattle) make equipment for load balancing, customers were interested in reducing the layers of equipment in their networks, Demmons said. Rather than have a separate load-balancing server sit in front of the firewall, a company can combine the two functions onto a single server, she said.
RainSLB also is offered as a standalone module.
Rainfinity sees possibilities for its software in other zones of the network as well. Modules could be applied to the firewalls that separate divisions of a company, or they could shuttle a company's Web applications to a different Internet service provider in the event that the primary ISP goes down, Demmons said.