Intel this week launched what it claims is a first of its kind -- a 10GBase-T server adapter (X520-T2) to support SR-IOV for advanced network virtualization.
According to Intel, the adapter's energy efficient design makes it possible to support two 10GbE ports, allowing one port to provide redundancy and take over should the other port fail. The other advantage to running two ports is the ability to combine them "into one bigger virtual pipe, providing 20GbE of networking bandwidth."
The 10GBase-T adapter is based on the Intel 82599 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller and boasts support for connectivity over distances of up to 100 meters, Intel says. And giving it added flexibility, the X520-T2 ships in a low-profile PCI-E form factor.
Anticipation has been running high for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, a database upgrade that has logged over 150,000 downloads since its 2009 community technology preview release. And all those who downloaded it will be happy to know Microsoft has finally set a release date.
"SQL Server 2008 R2 showcases Microsoft's continued commitment to business intelligence and mission-critical workloads," Microsoft said. "R2 will be listed on Microsoft's May price list, and will be available by May 2010."
Codenamed Kilmanjaro, Microsoft will serve up SQL Server 2008 R2 in a variety off flavors, including a Datacenter edition and a Parallel Data Warehouse edition, the latter of which was formerly known as Project Madison.
The Datacenter edition takes the Enterprise product and adds application and multi-server management, virtualization, and support for over 8 processors and 256 logical processors, as we well as hgih-scale complex event processing. The Parallel Data Warehouse package will come preloaded on servers as a data warehouse appliance, ZDNet reports.
With the release of its CLARiiON CX4 and Celerra Gateway systems, EMC said it can now offer double the capacity of previous systems in half the floor space.
"Physical space constraints present significant challenges to IT administrators facing the task of managing 50 percent or more information each year," said Rich Napolitano, President, Unified Storage Division at EMC. "We've developed the industry's most comprehensive compact storage system. In addition to an innovative hardware solution that reduces floor space requirements, EMC offers software that makes the most cost-effective use of the storage system and ensures that the right information is on the right media at the right time."
EMC says its compact mid-range storage systems now support 2TB low-power SATA drives, compared to the 1TB drives supported by previous systems. Power savings also get a boost, says EMC, who claims that the energy-efficient 2TB drives consume 60 percent less power per GB than the 1TB drives.
If you haven't seen it yet, the movie Avatar crams a ton of special effects in a futuristic landscape, and it owes some of that magic to a data center nestled in Miramar, New Zealand.
According to Weta Digital, the visual effects company tasked with creating the images in James Cameron's flick, each minute of Avatar consumed some 17.28GB of data.
For that kind of processing power, Weta Digital tapped into a 10,000 sq. ft. server farm filled with 34 racks and over 4,000 Hewlett-Packard blade servers. According to Paul Gunn, the data center's system admin, the computing core includes about 35,000 processors and 104TB of RAM.
If you are struggling to grasp the exact nature of the partnership, then you are not alone. Apparently, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and HP CEO Mark Hurd were so busy raving about their partnership that they forgot to divulge any lucid details. But the information posted on Microsoft Technet does seem to be of some help: “Microsoft and HP will deliver ‘Smart Bundles’ for small and medium businesses. These are a combination of hardware and software, including HP server, storage and networking solutions, coupled with Windows Server Hyper-V and HP Insight software, delivered in a single, cost-effective package.”
The partnership will also provide a lot of impetus to the Windows Azure Platform, “with HP offering services, and Microsoft continuing to include HP hardware for Windows Azure infrastructure.”
Sun and Fujitsu on Tuesday unveiled an upgraded SPARC Enterprise M3000 server the two companies claims will help customers consolidate multiple entry-level servers into a compatc 2U chassis, resulting in space and energy savings.
"Launched just overa year ago, the Sun SPARC Enterprise M3000 server with the Solaris Operating System has been a tremendous success with our customers," said John Fowlwer, executive vice president, Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. "With this latest release, Sun continues to deliver improved performance and value for customers. From the single processor M3000 to the high-end 64-processor M9000, SPARC and Solaris is the strategic business choice."
The upgraded server packs a new 2.75GHz SPARC64 VII processor and, according to Sun, includes many of the same mission-critical features as the mid- and hi-end SPARC64-based machines. Equipped with the new processor and faster system memory, Sun says performance is improved to tune of 23 percent than the previous generation.
Desktop users aren't the only ones who stand to benefit from Intel's 32nm Clarkdale processors. Fujitsu on Thursday announced plans to outfit at least two new entry-level, single-socket Primergy servers with Intel's new chips.
"The flexibility and power of [the two servers] make them ideally suited for general all-around use, and they are affordable enough to be very attractive to clients in the small and mid-sized market sector," Richard McCormack, senior vice president of Fujitsu's Server and Solutions Business, said in a statement.
The announcement comes on the same day Intel officially lifted the curtain on Clarkdale, which took an investment of $7 billion in four fabs to make possible.
Fujitsu's Primergy TX150 S7 tower system and RX100 S6 rack server are the two models that will use the new chips, and both are aimed at small and medium businesses. According to McCormack, they can also be used in non-mission-critical scenarios, such as Web server farms.
Cloud computing has grown from an intriguing concept into serious business in 2009, and in 2010, it's going to be all out warfare, with IBM leading the offensive. According to an IBM exec, Big Blue will accelerate its cloud computing efforts in the coming year and invest in the cloud at a rate that is commensurate to a $120 billion cloud computing market, eWeek.com reports.
The cloud isn't new territory for IBM, who in 2009 rolled out several cloud-based initiatives covering servers and storage. But the real battle may be in collaboration, an area where Google is hot to trot with its Google Apps. IBM's counter is its LotusLive Connections, a SAAS (software as a service) version of its social networking suite.
"IBM is in earlier in the cloud than it has moved into the market in the last 10 years," said Sean Poulley, vice president of online collaboration for Lotus Software. "The reason is that we have a unique set of assets that no one else that is comparable to IBM has in that we have world-class delivery skills in our global services organization, we have world-class infrastructure software, and we have world-class experience of running other peoples' systems in a 24-by-7, 99.999 percent availability, way."
While Poulley didn't get into specifics, he did say you can expect IBM to use the cloud to create simple business processes across company firewalls, and that more information would be forthcoming next month during Lotusphere 2010.
HP didn't forget to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its high-end NonStop servers by announcing upgrades in capacity, performance, and enterprise integration. The company's NonStop servers are used in several sectors, including banking institutions, ER centers, hospitals, and mobile phone operators.
"Rabobank looks to HP NonStop technology to handle our mission-critical financial services applications and help mitigate risks associated with virtual banking," said Diederick de Buck, technical architect for NonStop systems at Rabobank, a full-range financial services provider based in the Netherlands. "The HP NonStop system has been an innovative force in mission-critical computing from the very beginning and has laid a solid foundation for Rabobank for many years to come."
HP said it upgraded the NonStop SQL 2.3 database, paving the way for increased service levels through simplified software programming, improved application capacity, and higher performance.
Other upgrades include the introduction of NonStop BladeCluster Express 1.2, which offers a performance boost in complete enterprise data center systems spanning a large geographic area, and the introduction of NonStop SOAP 4.0, which purportedly offers seamless integration with open-source software such as Spring, Apache Axis2, MyFaces, and Hibernate.
Virtualization has become one of the biggest buzzwords in IT during the last couple of years, and for good reason. Virtualization enables you to run more than one operating system at the same time on a single system, enabling you to run legacy applications in their preferred environment. Virtualization enables you to use a single physical system to perform the jobs of two or more systems, each performing different tasks. Virtualization also enables you to create a safe "sandbox" environment for testing applications within an existing computer, so you no longer need to tie up a separate system for testing.
It's no wonder virtualization is hot. But could it become even hotter? Maximum IT columnist Mark Edward Soper takes a closer look.