Egenera Sharpens Blade Servers

The high-end blade server maker this week upgraded its four-way product line with the newest Xeon MP chips from Intel.

High-end blade server maker Egenera Inc. this week upgraded its four-way product line with the newest Xeon MP chips from Intel Corp.

The Marlboro, Mass., company now offers a four-way Processing Blade with a 2.8GHz Xeon MPs, 2MB of Level 3 cache and 12GB of memory. Two others are powered by 2GHz Xeon MPs with 1MB of L3 cache. One comes with 8GB of memory, the other 12GB.

Susan Davis, vice president of product marketing and management at Egenera, said the upgrade systems, which are available immediately, are a continuation of the companys mission to provide an Intel-based architecture for high-end applications.

"Intel is on a price/performance curve that no one else can match," Davis said. "Our focus has been to take mission-critical applications running on RISC/Unix and run them on a commodity architecture. … Blades are just a convenient form factor."

Many top OEMs, including Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Dell Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc., have gotten or are getting into the expanding blade market, offering from one- to eight-way blades. Like those systems, Egeneras blades are fitting into a chassis, through which the servers are connected to an enterprises network and storage resources. Egeneras chassis can hold up to 24 blades, either all two-ways, all four-ways or a mixture of the two. Egenera offers three two-way systems.

However, while the blades from most other vendors are housed vertically, Egeneras 1U (1.75-inch) BladeFrame servers—and those from NEC Solutions America Inc. and Stratus Technologies Inc.—are stacked horizontally.

Davis said the key to Egeneras systems is the PAN Manager software, which, when combined with the diskless blades, enables users to virtualize much of their resources, allowing for quick provisioning and deployment.

"Theyre totally anonymous resources," she said. "One these blades might be running Linux with Oracle 9i [Real Applications Clusters] or BEA apps."

Within minutes, they can quickly be provisioned to run other applications on a Microsoft Corp. Windows environment.