Hewlett-Packard announces D-class, K-class 64-bit servers

Hewlett-Packard Co. this week will clear the way for HP-9000 Unix server customers to migrate to a 64-bit hardware platform which according to industry analysts has the potential to nearly double system performance.

This week's announcements include new D-class and K-class servers based on HP's 64-bit PA-8000 reduced instruction-set computing processor which was introduced earlier this year in its workstation lineup.

Current server customers can upgrade their processors within their existing system chassis HP said.

"In terms of investment protection value for the dollar and performance they are batting almost a thousand " said Bill Moran a research analyst with D.H. Brown a New York-based research and analysis firm.

This week's introductions include four K-class servers. The K-class server is HP's workhorse server it is featured on the Navy's Tactical Advanced Computer (TAC)-4 contract held by HP and the Supermini contract held by PRC Inc.

The new K-class servers range from one- to four-way symmetric multiproc-essing systems using either 160 MHz or 180 MHz processors with list prices ranging from $52 200 to $77 200. The K-class now features a tenfold performance improvement between the low- and high-end configurations HP said. The new systems are available now.

HP also will introduce two new models to its entry-level D-class family which also is featured on TAC-4 and Supermini. The new servers which cost $22 260 to $25 250 support one or two 160 MHz processors up to 1.5G of memory and up to 5 terabytes of storage. The D-class servers will be available starting Oct. 1.

Early next year HP will release a new version of its high-end T-class server which it bills as a mainframe alternative.

"HP now has 64-bit hardware in both workstations and servers and as such can proceed head-to-head with Sun [Microsystems Inc.] " said Jean S. Bozman research manager for Unix and server operating environments at International Data Corp.'s Mountain View Calif. office.

HP also appears fairly closely matched with Digital Equipment Corp. in terms of performance Bozman said.However Digital unlike HP and Sun also offers a fully 64-bit version of its Unix operating system which it has leveraged strongly in the database market she said.

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