November 21, 2000

Mission Critical Linux confirms compatibility with Panasonic DVD-RAM drives

Author: JT Smith

Convolo Cluster Provides Application Failover Support for Rewritable DVD Drives/Libraries in Linux Environments

MILPITAS, CA (November 21, 2000) -- Panasonic and Mission Critical Linux, Inc., the cutting-edge Linux products and services company, announced today that Panasonic DVD-RAM drives, and Terabyte libraries configured with the drives, support Mission Critical Linux's Convolo Cluster solution. Designed specifically for mission-critical environments that can't afford the risk of any downtime, the clustering software provides application failover for the DVD-RAM drives and libraries in Linux environments.

QA testing of the DVD-RAM block write support for Linux was performed on the 4.7GB single-sided model using an ATAPI interface. Mission Critical Linux engineers concluded that while reading and writing, this drive was able to maintain a sustained speed of 2770 KB/s. Kernels tested ranged from 2.2.16 up to 2.4.0 test 8.

This Linux driver treats DVD-RAM media like any other removable hard drive media, allowing the DVD-RAM drive to be used just like any other hard drive. With support for the DVD-RAM drive, Linux users can write and overwrite DVD-RAM media 100,000 times and can read from discs currently accepted by CD-ROM, CD Audio, CD-R, CD-RW and video CD drives, as well as DVD video, DVD-ROM and DVD-R drives.

Mission Critical Linux's Convolo software supports two Linux servers, both with access to the data on a shared DVD-RAM storage subsystem using a SCSI or Fibre Channel connection. This type of configuration ensures higher availability than standalone Linux systems because data access is not dependent on the availability of a single server. The clustered servers can also operate in tandem to aggregate the total storage-serving I/O bandwidth, so if any server fails or is shut down for maintenance, the DVD-RAM storage remains completely accessible to clients, but at a reduced bandwidth.

Convolo Clusters can detect when one node leaves the cluster and will automatically trigger recovery scripts that perform the steps necessary to restart applications on the
remaining node. When the node rejoins the cluster, applications can be moved back to it, manually or automatically.

Using Linux servers to host Panasonic's high-capacity DVD-RAM storage subsystems and to power Web sites, e-commerce transactions, large-scale databases and video applications provides many advantages: stability, speed, support for low-cost commodity hardware, and adherence to all network and I/O interconnect standards.

"One of the key reasons the Linux operating system is used in high availability applications is its stability," said Michael Waite, Senior Professional Services Consultant at Mission Critical Linux. "And that's why the reliability of the Panasonic DVD-RAM drives is such a good match for these applications. Clusters can be deployed in low-end environments," he added, "but they're especially well-suited for large, back-end database configurations serving data to front-end clients and/or Web servers."

Jeff Saake, Group General Manager of Panasonic Industrial Company's Computer Technologies Group agreed and added that the Terabyte-capacity ASACA libraries, which are configured with Panasonic DVD-RAM drives, would be ideal for high-volume applications. Saake noted that in addition to Convolvo Cluster, Mission Critical Linux offers a broad range of cost-effective pre-packaged Linux solutions that will expand the use of Panasonic's rewritable DVD drive in Linux environments. "Their web server, mail server, network file server and database server application customers can all benefit from the capacity and hard disk-like read/write/overwrite capabilities of DVD-RAM."

Pricing, Availability
Panasonic Industrial Company's 4.7GB OEM DVD-RAM drive is available as an internal drive with a SCSI-2 interface (model LF-D291N) or with an ATAPI interface (model LF-D211N). The Panasonic-branded internal drive, model LF-D201U, is available from Panasonic Document Imaging Company (PDIC) and has an MSRP of $549. Double-sided 9.4GB DVD-RAM media, 4.7GB single-sided media and 4.7GB bare disc media, which are marketed under the Panasonic brand name, are also available from several other leading manufacturers. The 4.7GB bare disc DVD-RAM media can be played back on the latest Panasonic DVD-ROM drives, as well as Panasonic's new DVD Player and DVD Recorder.

Convolo Cluster Software is available now from Mission Critical Linux and is priced at $995 per server (two servers required per cluster). The software is delivered, fully compiled, in RPM and DEB formats, ready for fast and easy installation on any supported Linux distribution. A graphical, browser-based management interface for day-to-day operations and a command-line management interface for scripting of regular operations is included with the package.

About Mission Critical Linux, Inc.
Mission Critical Linux offers enterprise-ready Linux professional services to help plan and deploy efficient and highly available Linux systems; custom engineering for specific development needs; and 24/7 support to ensure maximum systems availability and performance. Headquartered in Lowell, Massachusetts, with offices in Santa Clara, California and Europe, Mission Critical Linux can be reached at or at +1 877.625.4689 or +1 978.606.0200.

About Panasonic
Panasonic is the best known brand name of Osaka, Japan-based Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC), one of the world's leading producers of electronic and electric products for consumer business and industrial use. Additional information on Panasonic and Matsushita Electric is available at

For more information on the Panasonic DVD-RAM OEM drive and media, contact Panasonic Industrial Company, 1600 McCandless Drive, Milpitas, CA 95035; 408.945.5600, FAX 408.262-4214, E-mail Or, visit the company's Web site at For more information on Panasonic-branded DVD-RAM drives and media, contact Panasonic Document Imaging Company, Two Panasonic Way 7D-9, Secaucus, NJ 07030 800.742.8086, or E-mail In Canada, contact Panasonic Canada, Ambler Drive, Mississauga, Ontario L4W 2T3, Canada; (905) 238-2254, FAX 905.238.2414, E-mail

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Mission Critical Linux, Inc. is not a part or in any way legally affiliated with Panasonic Industrial Company. Panasonic Industrial Company assumes no responsibility for the performance of or customer satisfaction with Mission Critical products. All company and/or product names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective manufacturers. Features, pricing, availability and specifications are subject to change without notice.

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