The clustering concept originated in the early 1970s as IBM searched for ways to make its mainframe computing environments more fault-tolerant. And although the idea did not catch on until the PC revolution of the 1980s, the technology industry has made great strides in the development of the technology for the client/server market. From the time of the earliest VAXcluster to today, the needs of e-commerce and industry have continued growing demanding more fault-tolerant, high-performance, and reliable systems and services.
Microsoft, in the late 1990s, began developing software that would enable the systems administrator to deploy high-performance, reliable applications easily and cost effectively. The results of its efforts, the MSCS and the NLB service included within the Windows 2000 operating system, have enabled engineers to look at network design and construction a little differently opening a vast resource of options that were not available before. Through the clustering applications and the .NET initiative, Microsoft is bringing products to market that provide reliability never before realized in the client/server software industry.