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NEC and Stratus find fault tolerance with each other

Four-core Xeon box gets hard

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NEC and Stratus have made good on their intellectual property marriage, pumping out a new, beefier fault-tolerant server.

Starting in June, customers can purchase the NEC Express5800/320Fc and the Stratus ftServer 6200 systems. The two-socket servers will run on Intel's four-core version of Xeon code-named 'Clovertown' and work as higher-end complements to existing kit centered on Intel's dual-core 'Paxville' chip. Customers will pick up such systems for the typical fault-tolerant tasks such as running banks or emergency response centers.

NEC is very proud of the engineering goodies added to the latest gear.

On a basic level, you'll find a zippy 1333MHz front side bus, support for 24GB of memory, PCI-X and PCI Express slots, support for both SATA and SAS drives and support for 667MHz DDR2 memory. All of those features stand as improvements over the 320Ma currently sold by NEC with the company improving speed across the board (200 per cent better overall performance) and adding more component options.

Digging deeper, NEC has rigged the 320Fc with its FT Crossbar, which links the processors to the I/O subsystems. The crossbar makes sure that no single point of failure exists inside the server, allowing NEC to boast about its fault tolerance. (The server can crunch through the same data in both memory banks at the same time and execute across both sockets at the same time.)

In short, the NEC system has two servers working on mirrored copies of a single operating system and applications. If one system breaks down, there's no problem as its complement will pick up the work.

Much of this “Lockstep” technology comes from Stratus, which formed even closer ties to NEC back in 2005. The two companies agreed to co-develop systems with NEC placing more emphasis on hardware design and Stratus banging away on code.

The 4U NEC system will run between $47,000 and $60,000 with support for Windows Server Enterprise Edition (R2) 2003 in June and RHEL 4.0 Advanced Server support coming at the end of the fourth quarter. ®

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