Compaq's hyper-dense servers are skinniest yet

Compaq is set to release a new "skinny" server that will be even smaller than its current 1.75in Photon or "pizza box" model,...

Compaq is set to release a new "skinny" server that will be even smaller than its current 1.75in Photon or "pizza box" model, writes Daniel Thomas.

At a conference in San Francisco, Mary McDowell, general manager of Compaq's industry standard server group, said the company plans to release the "hyper-dense" server sometime in the summer.

McDowell dubbed the market preference for ever-thinner servers as the "Calista Flockhart" trend, referring to recent newspaper reports of the increasingly skinny frame of actress Calista Flockhart, star of the Channel 4 show Ally McBeal.

The market for skinny servers has grown rapidly in the past year as application service providers and e-commerce companies opt for hundreds of single and dual-processor servers to run their businesses, rather than a few large multiprocessor servers. This enables businesses to add and subtract overall system power as and when it is required.

Application service providers typically have limited floor space in which to stack their servers and, according to McDowell, they are willing to pay a premium to pack as much processing power into as little space as possible.

She said the new servers, which run Windows or Linux, will reduce cable density - the tangle of interlinking wires that emerge from the back of networked systems.

McDowell also announced that Compaq will soon release a server based on Itanium, Intel's long-awaited 64-bit chip. "Compaq is the only supplier to develop its own Itanium-based server," she said.

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