The 64-Bit Boxes Await SQL Server 2005

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-11-07

The 64-Bit Boxes Await SQL Server 2005

The heavy metals primed: 64-bit boxes are ready and waiting for SQL Server 2005s Monday debut, with Fujitsu pledging support with PrimeQuest servers, NEC plugging Itanium systems and AMD out with Opteron support for the next-generation database.

Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. on Monday announced that its PrimeQuest line of servers will support Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server 2005 with data center-class reliability, scalability and availability on this open, high-performance platform.

Click here to read more about how SQL Server 2005 could cause some to jump platforms.

The database upgrades Database Mirroring feature—a feature in the Standard and Enterprise editions that has been delayed until the first half of next year—will eventually combine with PrimeQuest System Mirror architecture to provide fault immunity for up to eight hardware-isolated partitions, each one of which acts as an independent "server."

The servers will also provide a large, single-image platform for hosting consolidated databases and high-transaction volumes.

Richard McCormack, senior vice president of marketing at Fujitsu, said the PrimeQuest servers—high-end boxes that use up to 32 of Intel Corp.s Itanium chips—make a good fit with SQL Server 2005. So good, in fact, that Fujitsu is now part of the Mainframe Migration Alliance, is a group of companies that are working together to help customers migrate workloads off the mainframe and onto the Microsoft platform. Fujitsu joined in September 2004.

"Up until now in our product line, if [customers] said We need a big database, we only had large, high-end SPARC Solaris systems to offer at the high end," McCormack said. "With PrimeQuest running .Net and the new version of SQL Server, we can say, Hey, you have a new product."

PrimeQuest allows Fujitsu to step up the food chain, away from the low-end or midrange mainframe applications to very high-end mainframe applications, he said: those applications that were felt to be very difficult to move.

"Im not saying its easy [now]," he said. "But we now have hardware that mainframe users are used to."

For its part, NEC Solutions America Inc. will integrate SQL Server 2005 into its Express5800/1000 server series, powered by Intels 64-bit Itanium 2 processors, and its Fibre Channel Storage S series.

Andy Masland, NECs director of strategic alliances, said the integration is the latest step in an ongoing partnership with Microsoft. NEC, of Rancho Cordova, Calif., supplied Microsoft with servers for testing during the development of SQL Server over the past few years, including SQL Server 2005.

Click here to read more about the wait for SQL Server 2005 ending.

Express5800/1000 series were made available to Microsoft customers in the SQL Server Customer Lab in Redmond, Wash., and in the Microsoft Technology Center in Chicago.

Next Page: Important Step for NEC

The 64

-Bit Boxes Await SQL Server 2005">

Masland said NECs ability to integrate features into SQL Server 2005—including data mirroring—and into the Itanium 2 products will be important as the company continues its push into the North American market. He said the database product will not only find acceptance in NECs current installed base but also will help to fuel NECs growth.

"The Itanium server has some great areas where it can be used today," Masland said. "One of these is databases, where weve had a lot of success in the past."

The Express5800/1000 series offers eight to 32 processors and up to 512GB of memory.

Over at AMD, excitement over SQL Server 2005 is running high, according to Margaret Lewis, commercial software strategist, given that databases are one of the applications very well-suited for 64-bit.

While SQL Server 2000 has for awhile offered a 64-bit version for Itanium, SQL Server 2005 brings the database into a more pervasive, mainstream server market, as opposed to the Itaniums high-end, niche server market, she said. After all, the majority of databases Microsoft sells are on X86-based platforms, not Itanium, she said.

AMD has released benchmarks that show Opteron-based servers running SQL Server 2005 being comparable to proprietary, RISC-based platforms. That means that for comparable performance, businesses will now be able to pay about half the amount of money.

Lewis said this addresses something data center customers are particularly worried about: bringing in powerful servers that need a lot of power and cooling. For the financial community in Manhattan, for example, its simply not doable, given the astronomical costs associated with bringing additional power lines into buildings.

"If you look at database trends, you saw people buying high-end, large, SMP servers for running critical databases," Lewis said. "Not having much of an alternative in terms of performance and reliability and availability. Now were getting to the point in the world where you can replace some high-end, proprietary servers with cost-efficient, powerful, industry standard computers."

That will mark an evolutionary leap for databases, she said. "Thats going to be a big switch," she said.

eWEEK Senior Editor Jeff Burt contributed to this story.

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