San Diego, CALIF. — Mary Jo Foley reports that Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Superdome high-end Unix server launch was just the first of a number of data center announcements on tap over the next few weeks from some of the biggest hardware and software vendors. Among their prime targets: dotcom customers and their service providers.
As mainframe kingpin IBM Corp. knows all too well, an unquenchable need for gigabytes of memory is breathing new life into the once-dated concept of centralized mega-servers – especially for companies trying to make a splash on the Web.
In fact, Big Blue is expected to roll out the successor to its current RS/6000 S80 Unix high-end servers within the next month or so. IBM officials declined to comment on the forthcoming servers.
Even Microsoft Corp. – which has pushed the concept of several smaller servers working together to maximize price and performance – wants to be part of the data center resurgence.
On Sept. 26, Microsoft is staging its “Enterprise 2000” rollout in San Francisco. The company is slated to launch not only its Windows 2000 Datacenter Server operating system, but a raft of supporting server applications, ranging from SQL Server 2000 and Exchange 2000 to its lesser-known Host Integration Server. System vendors, ranging from Unisys to Compaq Computer Corp. and HP, are expected to be on hand to support Microsoft’s claims of high-end dominance.
Datacenter Server is Microsoft’s highest-end offering in its Windows 2000 family. It supports 32-way symmetric multiprocessing and four-node clusters.
The day after Microsoft’s West Coast shindig, Sun Microsystems Inc. will head East to unveil its own “next-generation architecture,” which will reach beyond Sun’s age-old “network is the computer” vision to its new-and-improved “Net Effect” goal.
Sun officials declined comment on the particulars of its upcoming announcement. But many industry watchers expect Sun to launch its delayed UltraSPARC III chip and either workstations or servers based on the new architecture.
The race for the high-end crown Their unabashed desire to one-up the competition aside, what’s behind the latest race for the high-end crown?
“Who isn’t an e-business?” asked an IBM server spokesman, who asked not to be identified. “These new systems are for next-generation e-businesses and can act as appliance servers, transaction servers and the like.
HP is expecting to sell a lot of its newly announced Superdome HP 9000 systems to dotcom/e-business customers, company officials said earlier this week.
And Microsoft is expected to tout Datacenter Server and related Enterprise 2000 applications as the backbone of its .Net platform. Like HP with its “always on” architecture and Sun with its “WebTone,” Microsoft, with .Net, is talking up a future where software becomes a service that is reachable anytime, anywhere from any device.