NEC Unveils Scalable 16-CPU Enterprise-class Servers with XEON 7400-Series CPU

Company says Express 5800/A1160 features “unsurpassed consolidation and reliability for Windows data centers”

NEC Corporation unveiled what it says is the first line of enterprise servers that includes Intel’s 4- or 6-core Xeon 7400 processors. Enterprises are looking for “reliability, accessibility, and serviceability (RAS) with high performance enterprise capabilities for data center Windows requirements," said Mike Mitsch, general manager for the enterprise server division in a statement, adding that these are key features of the new Intel CPU (aka Dunnington).

The server provides scalability for virtualization environments running Microsoft Windows Server and other OSes that NEC says is a good fit for enterprises (including small and mid-size businesses) running mission-critical workloads. Several factors are behind the move, according to the company, including the dominance of Windows and Linux beyond use as general-purpose servers, a growing number of applications (including e-mail and Internet access) formerly running on general-purpose servers that are now critical to the business, and the need for SQL databases to deliver RAS and enable consolidation. (NEC claims the new server’s RAS features rival that of mainframes.)

Another factor driving NEC’s move is IT’s need for server consolidation to save power and floor space, plus virtualization and multi-core capabilities for more efficient system utilization.

The server is scalable up to 16 sockets per CPU, providing a maximum of 64 or 96 cores (based on Intel’s X7460 or E7440 processor, respectively). Other features include remote monitoring of the server, hot swappable assemblies, and front and rear in-rack service access that can be performed by the end user. NEC says Intel claims that compared to the 4-CPU Xeon X7350 processor, the Dunnington core should provide 38 percent faster VM response, a 40 percent increase in VM workload capability, and a 50 percent improvement in performance per watt.

An enterprise can add up to 1 TB of memory as well as introduce processor and I/O devices to the server, as well as reconfigure CPU resources, without interrupting service.

Processors, memory, and I/O can be separated into isolated partitions that each runs its own operating system, enabling enterprises to automate the “hot” addition or replacement of processors and memory when performance thresholds are reached or to comply with corporate policies.

The server logs hardware errors and can alert users to service outages before they occur.

The NEC Express5800/A1160 servers are scheduled for release in North America in the fourth quarter of 2008. More information is available at http://www.necam.com/Servers/Enterprise/.

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (esj.com).