Cnet's Matt Asay reports that Microsoft has decided to set up an interoperability alliance with Red Hat. In enterprise computing, virtualization is the name of the game, and virtualization is what this alliance is all about. Whether you're running Red Hat Enterprise virtualization technologies, Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Microsoft Hyper-V server, the interoperability agreement will enable Red Hat or Microsoft guest operating systems to run on any of these virtualization platforms and get technical support. For details, see the Red Hat website or the Microsoft TechNet blog announcement.
It will take time for Red Hat and Microsoft to validate server platforms for interoperability, and valid software support contracts are required. The best news for those of us who support enterprise-level virtualized platforms on Red Hat or Microsoft? No more finger-pointing, so you can spend your evenings winning your favorite frag-fest instead of playing pass-the-buck with operating system support staffs.
AMD today released five low-power and two high-performance processors for server builds. All seven of the new chips are updated versions of AMD's 45nm Shanghai architecture.
"When we first came to market, we brought out the standard-power (Shanghai processors) because that's where the bulk of our market is," John Fruehe, the director of business development for server and workstation products at AMD, said in an interview. "As always, we follow(ed) up fairly quickly with the HE, which are the energy-efficient models, and the SE, which are the high-performance models."
All five low power quad-core models-- 2376 HE, 2374 HE, 2372 HE, 8376 HE, and 8374 HE -- come rated at 55W ACP (Average CPU Power), which is equivalent to a 79W TDP, and run between 2.1GHz and 2.3GHz. The higher performance SE models -- 2386 SE and 8386 SE -- both run at 2.8GHz with a 105W ACP rating.
The new processors are available now in three new systems from HP and other technology partners.
Move over HP and IBM, and make room for Cisco Systems. Cisco, who has remained focused on routers, switches, and other networking gear and software responsible for the majority of its $40 billion a year in revenue and 65 percent gross profit margins, plans to release a server computer equipped with sophisticated virtualization software within the next few months, according to The New York Times.
"This will be the most important and most talked-about product of the year," said Brent Bracelin, a hardware analyst for Pacific Crest Securities. "There will be massive competitive reactions from both IBM. and HP, and we expect this will lead to a new wave of industry consolidation."
Cisco, who views the move "not as new market, but a market transition," will focus just on virtual applications rather than release a general purpose server. Other details remain sparse and Cisco isn't yet saying what exactly it envisions for its new product, but rumors suggest the company will also bundle networking hardware and virtualization software from Cisco and VMware, the latter of which Cisco owns close to a 2 percent stake.
Look for more details to emerge in the next couple of months.
One of the weaknessess with HP's MediaSmart servers running MIcrosoft's Windows Home Server software was that it was of no use as backup platforms for Macs running the Time Machine backup software. That shortcoming is no longer the case, as HP announced plans to upgrade its MediaSmart server lineup with a pair of Mac-compatible models - HP MediaSmart Server ex485 (750GB of hard disk storage) and ex487 (1.5TB).
"A growing number of digital-savvy households have both Windows and Mac computers, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of media files and documents scattered across these devices,” said Jason Zajac, vice president of strategy, Worldwide Attach Group, HP. “The HP MediaSmart Server protects, stores and organizes this content from anywhere on a network so consumers can access and share it any place they are connected."
Both models come with a 64-bit Intel Celeron processor clocked at 2.0Ghz, 2GB of DDR2-800 RAM (previous models only came with 512MB of RAM), and expandability with up to 9TB of storage. The ex485 and ex487 are expected to be available in February 2009 for $600 and $750 respectively.
Competition for the upcoming refreshed MediaSmart line may come from Apple, 9to5Mac.com speculates. According to the Mac site, Apple has plans to expand the Time Capsule paltform to include much of the same functionality, with the real question being whether or not Apple will decide to put most of its services in the Cloud. If such an update is in the cards for Apple, an announcement would likely be forthcoming at Macworld, which runs from January 5-9, 2009.
VIA has announced the ARTiGo A2000 barebones storage mini-server, a tiny box with a small price tag. The compact mini-server offers a high capacity, low power power storage system while also claiming to keep noise levels below 26.8 dB.
1.6GHz VIA C7-D processor
VIA VX8000 Unified Digital Media IGP chipset
1 x DDR2 SO-DIMM Socket (up to 2GB)
2 x 3.5" SATA II
1 x CF socket
3 x USB 2.0 ports (1 on front panel)
Other specs include a LAN port, audio ports, wireless LAN support, built-in HD audio, and support for Windows XP/Vista, and Linux. But perhaps the ARTiGo A2000's biggest appeal is it's small stature. The mini-server is designed using a custom Nano-ITX form factor and up to 3TB of data can be crammed into a chassis no higher than a CD and only 10.2 inches long.
Included software gives uses the ability to create up to 10 encrypted virtual drives, with the encryption being "performed with virtually no CPU load."
Several e-tailers have begun offering the device on pre-order for $299, and depending on where you order it from, could ship as early as this month.
Citing un-named sources at server makers, DigiTimes says Intel plans to launch several quad-core Xeon 5500 and Xeon 3500 Nehalem-based server CPUs and one dual-core Xeon chip in the first quarter of 2009. These include:
The Xeon 5500 series will come with 8MB of L2 cache instead of 12MB, but is expected to be negated by Core i7's QuickPath architecture. The Xeon 3500 series will come with 8MB of L2 cache but will only run in single-socket systems. Prices for the new chips will range from $188 (E5502) on up to $1600 (W5580) for thousand-unit tray quantities.
On the chopping block are seven notebook CPUs, including the Core 2 Extreme X7900 an X7800, and Core 2 Duo T7800 and L7700. These are expected to be phased out in January 2009.
Dell this week has launched a new line of OptiPlex desktop rigs, starting with the company's new flagship OptiPlex 960. The 960 comes wrapped in three different chassis designs -- mini-tower, desktop, and SFF -- with a configurable interior that lets consumers choose from both Intel's Core 2 Duo and quad-processor lineup, onboard or add-in graphics, and up to 8GB of DDR2 RAM. The new OptiPlex also looks to go green with what Dell claims is a 43 percent reduction in power consumption compared to previous OptiPlex models. Other improvements include a sturdier frame, significant noise reduction (up to 60 percent), and beefed up security through full drive encryption.
Among the OptiFlex refresh also sits Dell's FX160. The FX160 is Dell's first ever thin client, and can be configured to support either a Virtual Remote Desktop thin client environment or an On-Demand Desktop Streaming environment. Underneath the hood is an Intel Atom processor.
The new OptiPlex rigs are available now with starting prices ranging from $399 (FX160) on up to $863 (960).
Out with the old and in with the new. That's what Intel's doing with its Xeon server line of processors, as the chip maker announced in a product change notification (PCN) to customers that it plans to phase out 31 different retail boxed dual- and quad-core Xeons built around the Core architecture on a 65nm manufacturing process as it transitions to 45nm.
Specifically, six Woodcrest dual-core Xeons (5120, 5150, LV5148, 5110, 5130, 5140, 5160) and nine Cloverton quad-core Xeons (E5310, E5320, L5320, E5335, L5335, E5345, X5365, X5355) are getting the axe, in addition to variations in each lineup to bring the total up to 31, TGDaily reports.
Once supply of the boxed versions run out, customers will no longer be able to order the 65nm chips though tray units will still be made available, albeit with a shorter warranty through the reseller and without a bundled heatsink/fan.
Barcelona might have been a sullen nightmare for AMD but it seems to have moved on. It has now pinned its hopes on Shanghai, a quad-core processor for the server market, which happens to be its first processor to be synthesized on a 45-nanometer process.
The company has begun shipping Shanghai to its OEM partners. Shanghai will be launched ahead of time, before the end of this year, unlike Barcelona that was plagued by delays.
Intel today announced the official release of their Dunnington-based Xeon 7400 server CPU. The six-core chip is monolithic, meaning that all six cores are on one die, and is the first Xeon CPU to sport that design. The previous 7300 series CPU, dubbed Tigerton, was a quad-core processor with two dual-core chips on a single module (like existing quad-core consumer chips). As expected, Dunnington is still of the Penryn architecture (45nm High-K manufacturing process), and will be compatible with current Tigerton Socket 604 motherboards.
Speed-wise, Intel claims a 50% performance increase in the 7400 over the 7300 series CPU based on TPC-E database benchmark testing (TPC-E simulates the online transaction workload of a large brokerage firm). More impressive is Intel’s claim that even with the improved performance, Dunnington’s energy efficiency actually means it uses 10% lower power than the previous generation. The gains are largely attributed to the presence of a new 16MB level-3 cache, in addition to the extra compute power of two more cores. Xeon 7400 CPUs will launch at 2.66Ghz with either four or six core, and will be priced from $856 to $2729.
What does this mean for consumers? Unfortunately, not much. Intel has no current plans to release a six-core CPU to the mainstream market, and few applications would be able to scale well enough to take full advantage of the additional two cores. Intel seems to be pushing Nehalem for the consumer market, which will launch as a quad-core. Dunnington customers – large Web 2.0 companies like Myspace – will be the ones who benefit most from the extra performance and power efficiency, which may enable them to develop compute-intensive features like high-definition video sharing.
More pics of the sizable chip and Intel's press conference after the jump.