Dell, NEC Extend Itanium-Powered Server Lines

NEC says its new system will be the first blade to feature Itanium 2, while Dell rolls out a four-way system targeting an enterprise's mission-critical applications such as databases, ERP and CRM.

Dell and NEC Solutions are extending their server lines with new and upcoming systems powered by Intels 64-bit Itanium 2 processors.

Dell Inc., of Round Rock, Texas, on Monday rolled out the PowerEdge 7250, a four-way system targeting an enterprises mission-critical applications such as databases, ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management).

The 4U (7-inch) rack-optimized servers include the processors with 6MB of integrated cache, up to 32GB of memory and eight PCI-X slots. They system, managed by Dells OpenManage software, also can run Microsoft Corp.s Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition or Red Hat Inc.s Enterprise Linux 3.0 AS operating systems.

Available immediately, the 7250 starts at $12,499.

The system is the second from Dell powered by Intel Corp.s Itanium, joining the two-way PowerEdge 3250, released in June 2003.

Terry Klein, vice president of Dells Advanced Systems Group in the Americas, said in an interview with eWEEK last month that customers are looking to Itanium—rather than Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron processor—when considering 64-bit computing.

"A lot of accounts are asking us [about Opteron], but weve seen only a handful of accounts buying Opteron," Klein said. "Its a conversation [topic]."

For its part, NEC Solutions (America) Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., in September will release a two-way blade server based on the next generation of the 1.6HGz Itanium 2, dubbed Madison 9M, which will offer 9MB of Level 3 cache.

/zimages/4/28571.gifIntels Itanium and Xeon processors will share a common physical socket beginning in 2007. Click here to read more.

NEC on Wednesday will announce the Express5800/1200Ba Blade system, which will start at $79,000.

Scott Schweitzer, product manager of NECs Itanium 2 server family, said the new system will be the first blade to feature Itanium 2 and will be aimed at large Fortune 1000 companies and research and academic institutions that need high-performance computing capabilities. The blades are designed to work best in a clustered environment, he said.

Blade systems are thin servers that fit vertically into a chassis and share such components as connectivity and power supplies.

The combination of Itanium 2 processors, InfiniBand connectivity, the Red Hat Advance Workstation Linux operating system and a blade form factor are attractive to customers doing such applications as genome mapping, data analysis, parallel databases and cash flow analysis, Schweitzer said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about the new Itanium roadmap.

The company is targeting several spaces, including manufacturing, financial services, pharmaceutical and HPC laboratories.

Nine of the blades will be able to fit into a 10 (17.5-inch) chassis that—with two processors per system—will enable more than 345 gigaflops of power per cabinet. The systems will provide 24GB of memory and automatic failover via redundant switches.

The server will join several others in NECs Express5800/1000 series that also feature Itanium 2 processors.

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