Electronic Design

Top UNIX Server Employs 64-Way Processor And Prepares For The IA-64 Itanium CPU

Superdome is the latest edition in Hewlett-Packard's (HP) high-end UNIX server line. Currently shipping with HP's PA-8600 processors, this server also will support Intel's IA-64 Itanium processor when that CPU be-comes available. Initially, the Superdome system will be twice as fast as HP's previously released V-class server.

The high-end server comes in multiple configurations, starting with a 16-way symmetric multiprocessing system and increasing up to a 64-way system. Clusters of as many as 256 processors also are supported. Additionally, the system pushes the memory limit—the high-end system supports 8 to 256 Gbytes of memory.

At the high end of the server market, Superdome competes with the E10000 64-processor servers offered by Sun Microsystems Inc. It also rivals IBM's recently announced, high-end RS/6000 S80 AIX servers.

Superdome supports virtual partitions that allow a system administrator to isolate an operating system such as HP-UX, Windows, or Linux, and applications from others running on the same system. A virtual partition can be reconfigured or rebooted without affecting other partitions. Hard partitions are supported as well. Moreover, the system software can allocate processors and other specific resources to a partition.

Low-end Superdome systems support one to four hard partitions. Top-of-the-line Superdome systems with 64 processors support up to 16 hard partitions. A maximum of 64 virtual partitions can run on top of one or more hard partitions. Processor resources can migrate across virtual partition boundaries.

HP provides additional management tools, including the process resource manager and the HP-UX workload manager. These provide applications with dynamic, goal-based resource allocation.

Superdome's architecture allows HP to provide a pay-per-use pricing model. In this case, a system is installed with more processors and memory than presently needed. At first, only a subset is enabled. The supplementary re-sources can be implemented when the initial subset is in use. The company receives payments from its customers based upon the number of extra resources employed.

Resources can be increased on an incremental or a demand basis. Incremental additions are made by HP in response to customer requests. De-mand additions are based on application requests. The system records their use for subsequent payment.

Future-planned HP processors such as the PA-8700 and PA-8800 will be supported by the servers, too. As the company expands its number of processors, it also intends to increase the amount of memory the systems can handle.

Contact the company for pricing and availability information.

Hewlett-Packard Co., 3000 Hanover St., Palo Alto, CA 94304; (650) 857-1501; fax (650) 857-5518; www.hp.com.

TAGS: Intel
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