Azul Adds Utility Pricing Capability to Appliances

Maker of massive data center appliances also opens UK branch to serve the European market.

Azul Systems Inc. is growing the capabilities of its Compute Appliances and the reach of its business.

The Mountain View, Calif., company is bringing such features as utility pricing and broader operating system support to the Compute Appliance devices, which are machines with up to 384 processors that speed Java and J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application performance and can help enterprises consolidate their data centers and reduce IT costs by doing the work of multiple low-end servers.

At the same time, the company is opening up an office in Slough, Berkshire, England—its first step into the European market. IBM Global Services also will grow its support of the Compute Appliances into Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

"Azul is entering the next stage of growth and evolution in the enterprise," said Shahin Khan, vice president and chief marketing officer at Azul.

Azuls line of Compute Appliances creates a pool of compute power that servers can tap into for Java-based workloads. The servers use 64-bit RISC-based processors with as many as 24 cores, each developed by Azul, and can scale as high as 384 processors. Businesses put Azuls proxy software on their servers to enable the offloading of Java workloads from servers running BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic, WebSphere from IBM or JBoss Inc.

Khan said that with the new capabilities announced this week, the Compute Appliances become key tools for service-oriented architectures and utility computing environments.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read an interview with Azul CEO Stephen DeWitt.

Included in the new features in Azuls management software is the ability to gather detailed data on how resources are being used across a compute pool for each application, which enables billing and chargeback at the application level. Those capabilities are important in a utility computing environment, where multiple people are using compute resources from the same pool, Khan said.

"The main need [for this] comes from Azul being a shared platform," Khan said. "Any time you have a shared platform, the question comes up about who is using it."

In addition, the software can now redirect resources created by changing demands from an application in less than 10 milliseconds. Azul also is expanding the Compute Appliances OS support. Currently they support Solaris from Sun Microsystems Inc. and Linux from Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc.s SuSE Linux unit. When the new software ships this quarter, the appliances also will support IBMs AIX and Hewlett-Packard Co.s HP-UX Unix operating systems.

There also will be support for the Java SE 5.0 platform, integration into businesses existing authentication directories through the Radius open-source project, and improved monitoring with enhanced alerts and integration with network management offerings from companies like HP and IBM, Khan said. An audit by the Nessus open-source project, which creates vulnerability assessment and compliance software, also verified that there are no port or socket vulnerabilities in the Compute Appliances, which should ease concerns that businesses might have about adding the new devices to their data centers, he said.

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