Apple Unveils Cluster Xserve Configuration

Cluster configuration includes a lot of the features found in its full-size counterpart, but for $1,000 less.

Apple Computer Inc. has come out with a slimmed-down version of its Xserve server aimed at businesses interested in clustering their systems.

The cluster configuration of the rack-mounted Xserve includes a lot of the features found in its full-size counterpart—dual 1.33GHz PowerPC G4 chips, including 2MB of Level 3 cache per chip and up to 256MB of memory, for example.

However, there are some capabilities that have been removed, including three hard drive bays and the optical card, according to Doug Brooks, product manager for Xserve. Also, the Mac OS X Server platform, which includes unlimited client licenses in the fully configured model, only will offer 10 client licenses. And rather than dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, there is only one, Brooks said.

The result is a server with the compute power needed in clusters but without the unnecessary capabilities, he said. It also means a $1,000 drop in the price, to $2,799.

"Clusters are becoming a very popular way of gaining a lot of computational power very affordably," Brooks said.

Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., has begun taking orders for the server, which it will start shipping in April. The company will demonstrate the cluster configuration at the Bio-IT World Conference and Expo in Boston next week and at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas in April, Brooks said.

The cluster configuration is the latest push Apple has made for the Xserve, which was introduced in May 2002. In February, the company unveiled its Xserve RAID storage appliance.

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