The Pipeline

SGI pumps up the lineup
Silicon Graphics Inc. has announced an expansion of its Linux-based Altix line of high-performance servers.

“This is an extension of the product line at the workgroup level, departmental level and large server level,” said Gene Gray, SGI’s government and defense market segment manager.

The expansion includes a new line of cluster solutions, a new midrange blade server and Altix 4700 servers with double the performance of previous models.

The solutions offer the advantages of one operating system — Linux — and one hardware architecture. “You don’t need an army of [information technology] people to manage these environments,” Gray said.

The new family of cluster solutions is called SGI Altix XE. The systems are powered by the new dual-core Intel Xeon 5100 processor series and, unlike competitors, are custom-configured to optimize popular applications. They pack a total of four processor cores and support up to 32G of memory in each server.

The midrange blade server, called the Altix 450, runs on dual-core Intel Itanium 2 processors. It delivers up to 2.5 times the performance of the current Altix 350 server but at a lower system cost. Altix 450 servers can be configured to maximize density, input/output or memory, or you can mix them to accommodate different workflows.

Finally, SGI’s new Altix 4700 servers double the previous performance of their predecessors thanks to new dual-core Itanium 2 processors. At no additional cost to users, the servers draw less power and offer more density and flexibility for data-intensive applications.

Survey says…
Rather than simply slapping a few access points around an office, setting up a wireless network takes planning.

Administrators should first conduct a site survey to determine how many access points to install and the appropriate locations for them. To do this, they could use a software-based tool such as the latest offering from Ekahau, Version 2.2 of the company’s Ekahau Site Survey product.

The new version offers better survey capabilities for large-scale networks and is the only available Wi-Fi design and verification tool that combines the entire 802.11 deployment into an all-in-one solution, company officials said. The solution covers everything from planning and surveying to troubleshooting and reporting.

And unlike other tools, Ekahau Site Survey assumes that radio frequency is never static and, therefore, allows simulation of changes in the radio frequency environment, such as the density of client devices.

Information technology managers will especially like the troubleshooting and monitoring features because they do what other network components can’t. For example, wireless local-area network switches cannot monitor lower-level network security functions or client-side radio frequency verification. Ekahau Site Survey provides such capabilities via an intuitive user interface.

Version 2.2 also includes an optimized network planning algorithm that delivers simulations more than 10 times faster than previous versions and enhanced device support for faster, more accurate surveys of dense networks with hundreds of access points.

In addition, three optional add-on modules are available: Planner, for off-site planning and simulation; Reporter, for advanced reporting needs; and Global Positioning System, for outdoor surveys.

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