Compaq rolls out new RISC-based servers

Refreshing its commitment to the company's RISC-based AlphaServer product line, Compaq has introduced three new AlphaServer...

Refreshing its commitment to the company's RISC-based AlphaServer product line, Compaq has introduced three new AlphaServer offerings.

The AlphaServer ES45 is a midrange Unix server designed for tasks such as data mining, manufacturing and automotive product development and design, and healthcare applications, according to Jackie Kahle, vice president of marketing for Compaq's high-performance system division.

The ES45 is a four-way Unix server capable of running Compaq's Tru64 and OpenVMS operating systems, as well as Linux, Kahle said.

The server is also the only midrange Unix system available with 64-bit processors running at 1GHz clock speeds. The 64-bit Alpha chips are supported by 32GB of memory, and the system delivers 8GBps of internal bandwidth and 1.85GBps of I/O, according to Compaq.

Base configurations of the ES45 start at around US$58,000, Kahle said.

Compaq also introduced the SC45, a scalable, single-image supercomputer built on the foundation of multiple ES45, Kahle said.

The SC45 is essentially "thousands of ES45 nodes," Kahle said. "We take the individual CPUs and put them together using a high-speed interconnect and using a single system image."

An SC45 comprised of 760 ES45 servers and using more than 3,000 Alpha processors is currently in use at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, according to Kahle.

The pre-loaded, pre-tuned systems will be available to customers next month.

The ES45 servers and supercomputing clusters are the latest in a shortening line of Alpha-based servers from Compaq. The company announced earlier this year that it would transition its operating systems to Intel's Itanium chip platform in the 2003 timeframe. Compaq will support its Alpha customers indefinitely and OS transitions to Itanium should be seamless, but around 2003 the Alpha road map will morph to Itanium and new versions of Alpha chips will be designed by an Intel team.

The release of the ES45 is a testament to Compaq's pledge to provide ongoing support for Alpha customers, Kahle said.

"I think the ES45 is further indication that we are absolutely committed to the Alpha road map, and there is no backing off that commitment," she said.

Compaq is the No. 5 Unix vendor in the world by operating license and upgrade revenue, according to IDC. While it trails Sun Microsystems, HP, IBM, and NCR, Compaq's growth in the market for the year 2000 outpaced all other vendors besides Sun.

However, the IDC report explained that Compaq's year-2000 market growth was achieved on a "small base, and the actual increase was only $33m (£23m)."

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