Itanium Systems Aim High

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

Dell Inc. and NEC Solutions (America) Inc. are extending their server lines with new and upcoming systems powered by Intel Corp.s 64-bit Itanium 2 processors.

The Dell PowerEdge 7250 server and NECs Express5800/1200Ba blade server are expected to fill customers demands for HPC (high-performance computing) and RISC-replacement systems.

Dells PowerEdge 7250, which the Round Rock, Texas, company rolled out last week, is a four-way system targeted at hosting an enterprises mission-critical database, ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) applications.

The PowerEdge 4U (7-inch), rack-optimized servers include Itanium processors that run at up to 1.5GHz and come with 6MB of integrated cache. The systems have as much as 32GB of memory and eight PCI-X slots. The PowerEdge 7250 servers come with Microsoft Corp.s Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition or Red Hat Inc.s namesake Enterprise Linux AS 3.0 operating system installed and are managed by Dells OpenManage software.

The PowerEdge 7250 is Dells second Itanium system, joining the two-way PowerEdge 3250, released in June of last year. Dell officials said their customers are looking to Intels Itanium rather than Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron processor when considering 64-bit computing.

Hillco Ltd., of Kinston, N.C., runs an Oracle Corp. database on three two-way PowerEdge 3250 systems and is testing the new four-processor system as a way of giving its IT operations more headroom. One of the PowerEdge 3250s is running at 100 percent capacity, said Bobby Jefferson, director of IT.

"We looked and thought about the AMD [Opteron] solution, but we knew the operating systems run well on the Intel platform, and were comfortable with it," Jefferson said.

For its part, NEC, of Rancho Cordova, Calif., in September will release the Express5800/1200Ba blade server. The system, unveiled last week, will use the next generation of the 1.6GHz Itanium 2, dubbed Madison 9M, which will offer 9MB of Level 3 cache.

The system will be the first blade to feature Itanium 2 and will be aimed at Fortune 1000 companies and research and academic institutions that need HPC capabilities, said Scott Schweitzer, product manager for NECs Itanium 2 server family. 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.

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


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