Fault-Tolerant Servers Get Quad-Core Boost - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Fault-Tolerant Servers Get Quad-Core Boost

The Stratus FtServer 6200 and the NEC Express5800/320Fc initially will support Windows Server 2003; both will support Red Hat Linux later in the year.

NEC and Stratus Technologies plan to offer Intel quad-core processors in fault-tolerant servers in June, giving their respective product lines a performance boost.

The Stratus FtServer 6200 and the NEC Express5800/320Fc, both unveiled Monday, initially will support Windows Server 2003. Stratus plans to add support for Red Hat Linux in September, with NEC expected to do the same in the fourth quarter.

The Stratus and NEC servers are the first products developed jointly under a collaboration agreement the companies signed in November 2005. As part of the deal, NEC made a $9 million investment in Stratus, increasing its ownership in the company to about 3%.

Both companies' products are higher-performing alternatives to dual-core systems offered by NEC and Stratus. The new lines of servers include 50% more memory, to 32 Gbyte for the NEC product, and 24 Gbyte for the Stratus server. Both companies are claiming big performance boosts over the older products -- 200% by NEC and 300% by Stratus.

Both products also include internal serial-attached SCSI (SAS) hard drives, which can be used in conjunction with slower performing serial ATA (SATA) drives.

In releasing the new products, both companies have their eyes on the popularity of virtualization in the data center. Virtualization is the process of running multiple operating systems and applications on the same machine in order to utilize as much of the processing power as possible.

The Intel Xeon quad-core processors used in both products give them the muscle for virtualization. "We had virtualization in mind when we were designing the product," said Denny Lane, director product marketing for Stratus.

NEC and Stratus plan to sell the new products at a premium over current dual-core systems. NEC plans a 10% increase over the Express5800/320Ma series server, while Stratus is expecting a jump of 20% to 30% over the FtServer 5700, which starts at between $35,000 and $40,000.

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