RLX Boosts Blades Power, Memory

Its fourth-generation blade, the ServerBlade 1200i, offers 50 percent more processing power and twice as much memory capacity as the 800i.

RLX Technologies Inc., which introduced its first blade server in May 2001, announced its fourth-generation design Monday, the ServerBlade 1200i, which offers 50 percent more processing power and twice as much memory capacity as the 800i released in March.

In addition to hardware improvements, RLX also announced the release of new management software, Control Tower 4, as well as three new clustering solutions.

RLX was a leader in bringing ultra-compact server designs to the market. The first system offered by the company, based in The Woodlands, Texas, last year could pack 324 blades into an industry-standard 6-foot-tall rack designed to hold only 42 servers. The design, which essentially reduced a server to a processor and motherboard, was targeted at Internet server providers and Web hosting companies as a solution to free up space and ease manageability within data centers.

RLXs first design, called System 324, featured low-power Crusoe processors by Transmeta Corp., marking the first time the chip designed for use in notebook PCs and handhelds was integrated into a server. Since then, RLX has begun offering more powerful Intel-based blade systems capable of handling more demanding business applications, as well as to appeal to more conservative customers that prefer Intel chips.

Each new RLX 1200i blade features an Intel 1.26GHz Pentium III-M processor, and can outfitted with up to 2GB of DDR SDRAM and two 60GB hard drives. Up to 12 of the blades can be packed into the computer makers 300ex 3U chassis, enabling users to pack up to 168 blades in an industry-standard rack.

Pricing for the 1200i begins at $1,529, and the 300ex chassis is offered at $3,299.

RLX is touting its more powerful offering to government and scientific institutions, as well as to the entertainment industry as a possible hardware solution for use with video rendering.

Multiple chassis of 1200i servers are managed through the RLX Control Tower 4 software, which can help install software images across hundreds of blade servers. Control Tower 4 offers several enhancements over earlier versions of the software, including new authorization management and remote monitoring features.

RLX also released a new failover plug-in for its Control Tower software to enhance backup support and reduce system downtime in the event of a blade failure.

The 1200i supports Linux 7.2 and 7.3, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

RLX cluster solutions are designed to enable customers to leverage the power of multiple blades to tackle compute-intensive tasks. By harnessing the power of potentially hundreds of blades, users can create their own supercomputers.

"We can enable virtual collaboration and dynamic sharing of all resources, while reducing operational costs and improving computing performance and productivity," said Paul Hill, vice president of market and business development at Platform Computing in Ontario, Canada.

The computer maker offers three types of bundling technologies: RLX Computer Cluster with Platform LSF 5; MPI Computer Cluster, featuring MPI Software Technologys MPI/Pro message passing software; and the BLAST (basic logic alignment search tool) Cluster, which is used primarily in bioinformatics.

Prices for software vary based on blade configurations. For example, RLX Computer Cluster Solution with Control Tower license on a 1200i with 512MB of memory and 20GB hard drive would cost $2,646 per blade.

(Editors Note: This story has been edited since its original posting. Paul Hill was incorrectly identifed as an employee of RLX; his correct title is vice president of market and business development at Platform Computing.)