Compaq Introduces New Mid-range Server

Compaq Computer Corp. today is rolling out what executives say is the most powerful mid-range server.

Compaq Computer Corp. today is rolling out what executives say is the most powerful mid-range server.

The AlphaServer ES45 includes up to four 1 GHz 64-bit Alpha chips and supports the Tru64 Unix with TruCluster Servers, Open VMS and Linux operating systems. The ES45 competes with such products as Sun Microsystem Inc.s Blade 1000, IBMs 660 P series and Hewlett-Packard Co.s L3000 servers.

One Compaq official said the ES45 offers powerful 64-bit computing to a new market.

"It really brings to the mid-range the type of performance traditionally offered in the higher-end servers," said Jackie Kahle, vice president of product marketing for Compaqs High Performance Systems Division.

Along with the ES45, Houston-based Compaq also introduced the AlphaServer SC45 system, which uses the ES45 as the building blocks for creating supercomputer systems that can scale up performance to multiple TFLOLPS—or trillions of operations per second. The SC45 system uses interchanges that can wrap as many as 128 ES45 processors together and is aimed at projects that need massive amounts of computing, such as research projects.

The technology is available with the Tru64 Unix platform starting at $899,000 for 16-processor systems. Other vendors also have made recent announcements in the area of supercomputers, including IBM and Sun.

High-performance supercomputing has become a high growth area since the recent breakthroughs in genome research, Compaqs Kahle said. Users of Compaqs CS45 include the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing.

The Pittsburgh center is using 760 ES45 systems and more than 3,000 Alpha processors to create an SC45 supercomputing system.

Compaq also today announced the availability of Oracle Corp.s Oracle9i Real Application Clusters Certified Configurations on the Tru64 Unix-based AlphaServer ES45. The technology will be available preinstalled on the ES45 in November.

The ES45, which is available now starting at $58,000, is aimed at high-performance technical computing, such as telecommunications and healthcare.

Kahle said the ES45 rounds out Compaqs mid-range line of servers, which also includes the ES40, which is comes with less performance at a lower price.

She also said the introduction of the ES45 and CS45 was proof that Compaq was committed to following through on the development road map set out for the Alpha servers even though the company said earlier this year that it will eventually phase out the Alpha in favor of Intel Corp.s Itanium chip technology.

The Itanium decision was one of two recent high-profile announcements Compaq has made. Early last month, the company said that it had agreed to an acquisition by HP, based in Santa Clara, Calif. The move drew criticism from both analysts and investors, sparking a stock sell-off that drove the price of the deal down from $25 billion to less than $17 billion.