It's been rumored that Cisco would move into making its own blade servers, and that rumor turned into a reality last week when the company accounced its Unified Computing effort. A bevy of press releases related to the effort were released by Cisco last Monday, which has the company aiming to unify components of the data center into a single footprint and cut both ownership and operating costs.
The company's new Nehalem-based blade servers have been in design and development for two years and spells bad news for HP, who Cisco has dead in its sights.
"We're going to compete with HP," said Padmasree Warrior, Cisco CTO. "I don't want to sugarcoat that. There is bound to be change in the landscape of who you compete with and who you partner with."
Cisco's blade launch includes partners like BMC, EMC, VMWare, and Microsoft.
Apple earlier this month began taking orders for its new Mac Pro workstations with Intel's Xeon 3500 and 5500 quad-core processors, so technically, Lenovo isn't the first major PC maker to announce Nehalem-based workstations. Unless, like us, you demand a real PC (oh burn!).
Due for release next week, Lenovo's ThinkStation D20 and S20 workstation will also come configured with Intel's Xeon 3500 and 5500 dual- and quad-core processors. Intel is expected to launch the new CPUs next week as well.
The lower-end S20, which will start out at $1,070, is a single-socket system with support for up to 12GB of memory. The higher-end D20, which will start out at $1,550, comes with two sockets and ups and ante with support for up to 96GB of memory. Both systems will offer up to 1TB of storage.
End-users will be able to choose between Windows Vista Business and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for the OS, and an Nvidia Quadro or ATI FirePro workstation videocard for graphics chores.
Both models are expected to be available before April.
Swedish cops seized a server containing 16,000 pirated movies in a raid they conducted last month. It is claimed that the server belonged to a file-sharing ring called Sunnydale and was being operated furtively at a location outside Stockholm from where it was seized.
Antpiratbyrån, a private copyright advocacy group, claims that the entire Sunnydale file-sharing ring, which consists of 10 servers, has been rendered ineffective due to the raid.
But The Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde refuted Pontén’s tall claim. "More than 800,000 people have uploaded to The Pirate Bay, so I don't believe it's the source of everything. But it is possible that it's a major source," he told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
Microsoft offers plenty of software, there’s no doubt about that. And, currently in their server division alone there are 45 different packages for potential buyers to choose from. Still, the big wigs up in Redmond feel that they’re missing out on one group entirely, and that’s the sub-$500 crowd.
Within the next couple months Microsoft plans to introduce a low-cost, low-price, low-functionality Windows Server SKU named Foundation Edition. He’s comparing this server software to the netbook phenomenon, which has allowed Intel to sell millions of processors to a newly created platform in a very short period of time.
The primary target for these servers will be emerging markets, but if the netbook is any indication as to what happens once smart people get their hands on cheap tech, saturated markets mighty take advantage of this as well.
AMD Socket F (1207) Opteron owners have reason to rejoice, as it looks like the chip maker's upcoming Istanbul chip is on target for a 2H 2009 release and won't require any new hardware. A 6-core chip built on a 45nm manufacturing process with 6MB of L3 cache, Istanbul will go head-to-head with Intel's 6-core Dunnington-based Xeon released in September 2008. AMD had some heavy criticism for Dunnington following its release, saying it's just a glued together triple-dual core processor with 50 percent more cores than the quad-core and costing 50 percent more, among other complaints.
We'll have to wait for Istanbul's release to see how it stacks up against Intel's 6-core solution, but in the meantime, AMD did demonstrate a 24-core Istanbul configuration pitted against a 16-core Shanghai rig using the same parts, both with HyperTransport 3 enabled. With 50 percent more cores, the Istanbul machine produced almost double the bandwidth at 42,000 MB/s versus 25,000 MB/s for the Shanghai setup.
No pricing information or release date has yet been given, although AMD is planning on offering both lower-power HE and high performance SE models.
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.