'Next-Level' Server - InformationWeek

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11/11/2005
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'Next-Level' Server

Azul Systems introduces platform that lets midtier customers combine multicore and Xeon-based servers

Azul Systems Inc. says it's ready to take its mega-core processor server system to the masses with the introduction last week of a 100-core platform priced at $59,000. The platform would let customers combine the industry-standard capabilities of an Intel Xeon-based server with what may be the most extensive multicore server on the market.

"We're moving to the next level by taking our value proposition to the midtier enterprise customer," says Azul CEO Stephen DeWitt. "Being able to deliver this amount of processing power this elegantly to this class of customer is really unprecedented in the industry."

Azul's CentiCore platform has 32-Gbytes of shared memory.

Azul's CentiCore platform has 32-Gbytes of shared memory.
The Azul CentiCore platform comes with the Azul 960 Compute Appliance containing 96 processor cores, two Penguin Computing two-core processor Linux servers, a Gigabit Ethernet switch, and JBoss app-server software. It has 32-Gbytes of shared memory, and the Penguin servers have a gigabyte of memory.

The 960 Compute Appliance integrates four Vega processors, which have a RISC-based architecture developed by Azul. Each Vega processor has 24 processing cores operating at about 700 MHz. The Penguin systems use four 3.1-GHz Xeon processors.

The CentiCore platform uses 1.75 kilowatts of power. It's designed for what the company calls "network-attach processing," providing large amounts of computing capacity as a shared network service, and is ideal for enterprises that are increasingly implementing virtualized networks.

"Our network-attach processing architecture is designed from the ground up for virtual machine execution," DeWitt says. "And when you look at this price, and its performance-per-watt metric versus traditional general-purpose computing economics, this shatters the existing benchmark price line."

"The model that exists for computing today has to change. The costs are too high, and the customer knows that," he says. "Customers are looking for alternative models that don't have the sort of religious overtones of the existing systems vendors and allow them to dramatically take cost out of their data-center environments."

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