Yesterday, Group Logic released ExtremeZ-IP 5.0, a new version of the AFP file server. The server runs on Windows servers and workstation versions and supports all Mac OS versions from OS 9 to the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. ExtremeZ-IP 5.0 was rewritten with a new architecture that improves scalability and performance, and is compatible with standard Windows server management tools. The new version also supports the AFP reconnect feature of Mac OS X.
ExtremeZ-IP 5.0 can support up to 1000 users, twice the number of previous versions and more than any other AFP server, according to the company.
"It's an order of magnitude greater than OS X Server" said Reid Lewis, President and CEO of Group Logic. "[The new version] should also have better performance under load than any other AFP server."
Lewis said that the new version can process more commands from clients while using fewer computing resources. The new architecture doesn't use processor power and memory for users that are connected to the server but inactive. It only uses hardware when users are doing something. Previous versions of ExtremeZ-IP and Mac OS X Server consume more hardware resources each time a new user connects. The company said that this was due to a technique called thread pooling, which does not add a new thread for each new user.
Searching the server uses a technique called predictive caching and doesn't slow down the server, according to the Lewis.
ExtremeZ-IP 5.0 also adds a user feature called AFP reconnect, which is found in Mac OS X Server but on in Microsoft Services for Macintosh. With AFP reconnect, Macs that lose a connection, such as with wireless notebook that moves out of range, will regain every aspect of the session when reconnecting, without data loss. This includes restoring open files, reestablishing authentication, and reopening Finder windows that were open when disconnect occurred. The server caches this information.
Administrators can now use standard Windows server monitoring tools, such as Windows PerfMon and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and HP OpenView to monitor load, detect problems, and diagnose performance bottlenecks. Over 50 counters are supported, and administrators can set email or page alarms.
Group Logic also shipped ExtremeZ-IP Print Server 5.0, a separate product, which has the same scalability architecture as the file server. Both the file server and print server support running in a cluster.