New Compaq server targets data centers

Compaq Computer Corp. today unveiled a four-processor enterprise server the company said provides enough horsepower to support the industry's most demanding business applications while offering a form factor perfectly suited for space-constrained data centers.

The announcement of the ProLiant 6400R, with enhanced cluster management features, comes as the server industry is beginning to respond to the increased deployment of standard enterprisewide applications, such as e-mail, electronic commerce, enterprise resource management tools and data warehousing applications, according to the company.

The increasing complexity of these applications has led server manufacturers such as Compaq to refocus on management and clustering capabilities that can provide the required boost in performance.

The 6400R primarily is targeted at Compaq's data center customers and users who need server consolidation solutions, according to Keith McAuliffe, vice president of corporate servers for Compaq's Industry Standard Server Division.

"It brings the greater density that information technology managers are demanding [for their data center solutions] to the four-way server architecture," McAuliffe said. "And it does this while maintaining all of the high-end availability features of the ProLiant."

The 6400R is a rack-mount-only solution that provides up to four Intel Corp. 500 MHz Pentium III Xeon processors, McAuliffe said. The system also comes in a highly modular chassis that saves space through the use of external storage and backup devices. Furthermore, the 6400R's high-availability clustering solution is strengthened by the integration of hot-plug hard drives, hot-plug redundant power supplies and fans, and redundant power processor modules.

Agencies with remote offices will be interested in these systems because of the high availability they offer, which reduces the need for on-site support, McAuliffe said.

Compaq has submitted the new system for addition to its General Services Administration schedule, but pricing information is not available yet.

The 6400R offers enhanced serviceability and increased maintenance efficiency by providing easy access to the system's 4G of memory capacity, input/output board and six hot-plug Peripheral Component Interconnect slots, the company said.

McAuliffe said the development of Compaq's new clustering tools - Insight Manager XE Cluster Monitor and Intelligent Cluster Administrator - leveraged the company's commitment to its Insight Manager server management solution.

Both of these tools are browser-based and provide administrators with the ability to monitor server cluster performance and conduct cluster configuration management. In addition, the 6400R's management software supports Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT operating system, Novell Inc.'s NetWare, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris and other platforms.

"These [applications] represent Compaq furthering its leadership in standards-based clustering," McAuliffe said. Compaq plans to ship Insight Manager XE during the second quarter of 1999. Intelligent Cluster Administrator will be available March 17.

The 6400R also shares common components - such as a memory board, power processor modules, PCI boards and a system board - with the ProLiant 6500 and the ProLiant 1850R, reducing the cost of ownership by cutting down on the number of spare parts required and improving ease of service, according to Compaq.

Compaq's new system makes a viable solution for organizations consolidating smaller servers, said Jim Garden, director of technical services at Technology Business Research Group Inc., Hampton, N.H. If an organization goes from 100 small servers to a couple of big clusters, for example, "then your cost of operations goes down significantly, and you improve your availability," Garden said.

The 6400R probably is not ready for the data center environment because Windows NT is not ready, he said. However, "there are a lot of other destinations between a small server and the data center," Garden said.

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