NEC to Ship 32-way Itanium 2 Servers in U.S. Next Month

NEC Solutions America will introduce three new Itanium 2 servers in the United States by the end of the year. All based on a unified chipset and architecture, the systems are a 32-processor capable server, a 16-way capable server and an 8-way capable server.

The systems will be available immediately with Linux, but they will support Windows in April as soon as Windows .NET Server 2003 ships.

The systems are called the Express5800/1000 series, and they are already shipping in Europe and Japan. They were formerly referred to as the TX7 series, but NEC ran into a trademark issue and had to rename them. NEC made a splash with the 32-way capable system running pre-release Windows .NET Server 2003 earlier this fall with a Transaction Processing Performance Council OLTP benchmark result that was nearly twice as high as the next best Windows result.

The top-of-the-line system is the Express5800/1320Xc, which supports up to 32 processors and 256 GB of RAM. Those systems will start at about $500,000. The mid-tier server is the Express5800/1160Xc, supporting 16 processors and 128 GB of RAM. Starting at less than $200,000 is the Express5800/1080Rc, an 8-way rack system that can be configured with up to 32 GB of RAM.

The architecture allows for partitioning that is similar to the capabilities introduced to Windows customers in 2000 by Unisys with it the ES7000 server line. Like the ES7000, the Express5800/1000s can be split in partitions of four processors so different instances of operating systems or even different operating system platforms can be run side by side in the same machine. The 32-way system can be split into as many as eight partitions.

Microsoft already has a limited edition of Windows Advanced Server that runs on 64-bit processors, but NEC decided not to offer it. "Part of this is a dependency on the availability of .NET and specific ISVs," says Dave McAllister, NEC Solutions America marketing director for 64-bit systems. "The biggest applications in the business line mostly come on board when Microsoft Windows .NET Server 2003 is available."

Earlier this week, HP raised the bar for 64-bit Windows scalability with its announcement that it would ship 64-processor Superdome servers running Windows .NET Server 2003 when Intel delivers its "Madison" processor sometime next year.

McAllister says NEC is also developing greater-than-32-processor configurations for the next few years that involve packing more processors into each server cabinet and also linking server cabinets together.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.