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Tandem, NUMA vets unveil server start-up

Hitting Unix with x86

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Enterprise server start-ups have been a rare sight in recent years, but an 80-man company in Mountain View thinks it can succeed where so many hopefuls have failed.

Fabric 7 will use Opteron processors to target mid-range and eventually high-end Unix hardware. That's at a space at one time occupied by Sequent and in its later years, Data General, both of whom used standard Intel x86 processors to build out large SMP or NUMA systems.

That's knowledge clearly valued at Fabric 7, which was co-founded by Thomas Lovett, the former chief architect of Sequent's NUMA-Q systems as its own chief server architect. Lovett was also lead architect on IBM's xSeries servers. Tandem co-founder Bob Marshall sits on the board, and Tandem's former marketing chief Bryan Sweeley heads Fabric 7's marketing. Sharad Mehrotra, President and Chief Executive Officer had a hand in creating Sun's UltraSPARC-V and started Procket Networks.

Whatever happened to the big x86 systems business? Commodity 4-way Xeon ate up much of their business. Sequent and DG were both bought out in 1999 by IBM and EMC respectively. EMC had bought DG for its Clariion line of disk arrays, and soon discontinued the AViiON line of x86 servers, while IBM continued to refresh its Sequent product line until 2002.

Fabric7 has launched with an 8-way dual core Opteron system, the Q160. Prices will range from $42,000 to $175,000.

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