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Case Study: eNom Moves to 2003 Clusters without Yukon

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Internet domain services provider eNom has won a new and somewhat surprising differentiation on the database side. What are the pros and cons of running SQL Server 2000 in conjunction with Windows 2003 Cluster Server? Tech journalist Jacqueline Emigh talked with some folks at eNom to find out.
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eNom is staking out a new kind of name for itself. Already known as a major provider of Internet domain name services, eNom now carries the added distinction of being the first Microsoft customer to deploy SQL Server together with Windows 2003 Cluster Server. At this point, SQL Server 2003, codenamed Yukon, isn't even out of the starting gate. Yet that hasn't stopped eNom because a quick migration to 2003 clusters was in its business cards, anyway. eNom simply relies on SQL 2000 instead.

With more than one million under its management, eNom calls itself the world's fifth-largest domain name registration company. Other chief claims to fame include DNS hosting, Web hosting, and (now) shared hosting services.

"If our DNS servers were to go down, all the people using those servers wouldn't get any e-mail," notes Jim Beaver, eNom's Vice President of operations.

Up Since September

In September 2003, eNom went live with a new server configuration that combines SQL Server 2000 with two newer releases: Windows Server 2003 (W2K3) and Windows Cluster Server 2003.

"The major business driver was our decision to move our main data center from our own grounds to an outsourcer in San Jose," says Paul Stahura, eNom's President and CEO.

eNom's outsourcing maneuver coincided with a move of company's headquarters from Redmond, WA to Bellevue, WA. In addition to the outsourced data center in San Jose, eNom also runs data sites at its own facilities in Bellevue, Dallas, Washington DC, Chicago, and the UK.

Beaver points to measurable performance gains already. Specific features that are bringing visible payoffs include log shipping and distributed transaction processing.

However, W2K3 security has posed a steeper learning curve than first anticipated. Also, for most purposes, eNom still uses a custom BIND interface that was specifically created by its inhouse developers to support large numbers of DNS users.

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