Feeds

Stratus, NEC see double with fault-tolerant iron

Xeon 5500 engineering push

Boost IT visibility and business value

Stratus and NEC also tweaked the server's BIOS to support their own system monitoring and management software. NEC actually manufactured the fault-tolerant machines, much as it manufacturers the high-end of the Unisys SMP server line using Intel's six-core Xeon 7400 processors. These use the old frontside bus and scale up to 96 cores under a similar partnership that has Unisys and NEC peddling the boxes independently.

The basic hardware in the fault-tolerant machines are the same, with Stratus and NEC only supporting the 2GHz E5504 and 2.93 GHz X5570 versions of the Nehalem EP chips. The two-socket server module supports six memory slots per socket, and can use 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB DDR3 memory, for a maximum of 96GB of main memory.

This is the logical capacity of the fault-tolerant machines, of course. Physically, there are two complete servers in an fault-tolerant setup. The system includes the management controller in the base price, which is new this time around. Customers used to have to pay extra for that, and were no doubt annoyed since it is really a requirement.

Stratus and NEC package the boxes a little differently. NEC's Express5800/R320a-E4 and Stratus' ftServer 4500 are essentially the same machine, using the slower E5504 processors - with either one or two logical processors, or four or eight cores, in the box - and either 48GB or 96GB of logical memory. The machine has two logical Gigabit-Ethernet ports and two integrated PCI-Express 1.0 peripheral slots. The machines have an optional additional two PCI-Express 2.0 or two PCI-X slots.

NEC's Express5800/R320a-M4 is essentially the same as the Stratus ftServer 6300. These machines come with two logical X5570 processors and up to 96GB of logical memory. The machine comes with the two base PCI-Express 1.0 and both vendors support an additional two PCI-Express 2.0 slots. All four of these machines come in a 4U rack unit - that's two 2U servers stacked.

The server chassis now has a shared DVD for both nodes in the fault-tolerant cluster, and the move to 2.5-inch disks means that customers can now put eight drives into a server node. That's an increase from three in the prior generation, and users can stripe their data for performance if they want to.

Slim fit

To chase smaller customers with lower budgets, Stratus is selling a slimmed-down machine, the ftServer 2600, which only supports one logical processor socket, up to 16GB of main memory, and only has the base two PCI-Express 1.0 slots on the system board of each node.

According to Denny Lane, director of product marketing at Stratus, this entry ftServer 2600 with one processor and 4GB of memory can be had for $13,000 on the street.

A reasonable midrange configuration of the ftServer line runs in the range of $25,000, according to Lane, and a high-end configuration can run to around $40,000. Fully loading an ftServer with the latest Intel processors, plus lots of memory and disks, can push the price up towards $100,000.

NEC's director of product marketing Ken Hertzler says the suggested list price for a base Express5800/R320a-E4 with no memory or disk runs to $17,000, with a decently configured box costing between $20,000 and $25,000. A heaver configuration with two logical processors, something in the range of 20GB of memory, and four disks costs over $30,000.

Both Stratus and NEC say they will start shipping their respective boxes using the Xeon 5500s within a few weeks. Both will support Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 on the machines at ship time, and plan to get support for Red Hat's Enterprise Linux 5 out the door in the fourth quarter.

Stratus says it will have support for VMware's ESX Server 4.0 hypervisor and its vSphere 4.0 management stack on the new ftServers by the first quarter of 2010. NEC merely says it has support for other operating systems and hypervisors coming down the pike.

Customers who need to support ESX Server 4.0 or RHEL 5 today can run them on the earlier ftServers from Stratus that employed the Xeon 5400 processors. NEC supports RHEL 5 and ESX Server 3.0 on its earlier generation of fault-tolerant machines. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.