NEC, Stratus Partnership Delivers

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Mar 29, 2007

Stratus wasn't the only vendor to up the ante on fault-tolerance this week. On Monday, NEC announced the NEC Express5800/320Fc Fault Tolerant (FT) server.

The first fruits of NEC-Stratus alliance are ready for harvest. The NEC Express5800/320Fc or the ftServer 6200, depending on which vendor you prefer, delivers lockstep support for low-voltage, quad-core Intel Xeon 5300 processors.

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In many ways, Stratus is involved with this offering as well: The NEC Express5800/320Fc is the first product developed jointly by NEC Corporation and Stratus Technologies, under the terms of a collaboration agreement the vendors signed in November 2005.

As the agreement dictates, Stratus and NEC are cross-licensing technologies and co-developing fault-tolerant servers. Stratus provides the high-availability software; NEC designs the hardware design and manufactures the common hardware platform, which Stratus then purchases from NEC. Then, each company modifies the product as it sees fit.

The NEC Express5800/320Fc (aka ftServer 6200 for Stratus customer) is the first server to spawn from this partnership. It delivers lockstep support for low-voltage quad-core Intel Xeon processor 5300 series, Mike Mitsch, general manager of NEC's Strategy and Alliances platform group, told ServerWatch.

In addition to its energy efficiency and redundancy capabilities, the server offers a more than two-fold performance gain compared to current dual-core models. This is attributable to both the processor bump and changes to the server's fourth-generation cross Bar, Mitsch said.

The Cross Bar is the key to the server's fault tolerance levels. It interconnects fault detection and fault detection and isolation on the two I/O and processing subsystems that comprise the 320Fc.

The 320Fc FT server also underwent processing improvements. It supports a faster front-side-bus that provides up to 66 percent greater CPU Input/Output (I/O), a 50 percent increase in memory capacity for applications, and virtualization management.

It also offers the option of PCI-Express expansion for 25 percent faster I/O and compatibility, enhanced internal disk support in the form of SAS, and certified support for NEC’s next-generation external storage subsystems.

The NEC Express5800/320Fc Series Quad-Core models are expected to begin shipping by early June 2007. The new 320Fc will offer support for Window Server 2003 Enterprise Edition R2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux support will be available in fourth-quarter 2007. Pricing is not yet available.

Mitsch said the previous version of the server, the 320Ma, will continue to be sold and considered a current offering, although not as the "premier line" that the 320Fc will be sold as.

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