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Server Specs: SGI jumps into x86

SGI jumps into x86; Dell boosts blade connectors; CA, Splunk-Nagios update systems management tools.

Server Specs: SGI jumps into x86
Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) is rolling out new servers across the spectrum, including one on the x86 platform where it previously has never been a player.

The Altix XE is scheduled to ship in August and start at $3,100. It runs on Intel Corp.'s newest dual-core chip, the Intel Xeon 5100 series, and will be able to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SUSE operating systems. The company is moving into the x86 market to expand its reach and return to profitability after having filed for bankruptcy in May, following poor returns and double-digit percentage layoffs.

The Mountain View, Calif., company will also release an Intel Itanium-based blade server starting this month called the Altix 450, which it says has 2.5 times better performance than the previous server in the line, the Altix 350. The Altix 450 has Itanium 2 dual-core chips with capability for 38 sockets. It is scheduled to start shipping this month, with a starting cost of $14,000.

SGI got its start in the early 1980s making graphics display terminals. It has since built up a reputation for high-performance computing on 3D graphics systems, digital video and the Web. In November, it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. On May 8, SGI announced that it had declared bankruptcy.

Now it hopes its entry into x86 servers can return the company to profitability, albeit on a different backbone than what got it there more than 20 years ago.

Dell blades to connect to storage through Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InfiniBand
The Dell Inc. Modular Server Enclosure and PowerEdge blade servers are now able to connect through fabrics and switches from Dell itself, as well as Brocade, Intel, McData, QLogic and Topspin. The McData 4314 Fibre Channel switch is available now, with pricing starting at about $9,000.

The company said its goal with the new storage options is to provide better connection to storage servers and better integration with storage area networks (SANs) .

David Reine, director of enterprise systems for Wellesley, Mass.-based consultants The Clipper Group, said the rapid increase of storage capacity every year requires data centers to be able to feed information to and from storage servers and networks quickly. With this Dell announcement, he said its customers can better do that.

Also, Reine said that most shops aren't proprietary, instead opting to use equipment from different vendors based on price and quality. But those data centers still need to find a way to make all their devices be compatible with one another. If Dell can help them in that regard, it makes it easier for them.

"Now we're talking about communication between servers and devices," he said. "The more qualifications you've done, the better off you are."

CA updates database management software
CA Inc. today released updates to its IDMS and Datacom mainframe database software.

The new version of Datacom, a relational database for mainframes, is available now and boasts new features to help data centers deal with disaster recovery. It has two new online tools, allowing data center managers to remotely do data reorganization and index defragmentation, as well as the ability to automatically switch to a virtualized Datacom environment in case of a system failure.

IDMS, CA's database management system for mainframes, is expected out later this month. It has a reorganization utility that the company says will help reduce scheduled downtime, as well as the ability for data center managers to track database activity by user ID to help compliance and audit issues.

Both products run on IBM's z/OS and z/VSE environments. IDMS also runs on IBM z/VM and Siemens Fujitsu BS2000/OSD operating systems.

Splunk releases system management software based on Nagios
San Francisco-based Splunk Inc. today released software to help data center managers index their IT information and monitor it using the open source Nagios software.

Splunk-2-Nagios allows managers to organize information from any system, device or application, basically serving as a search engine for IT data. If there's a problem with any portion, the program can send out alerts on email, instant message or short message service..

Splunk launched last year and says it has had 42,000 downloads since. The Splunk-2-Nagios software is meant to add to that by combining the two products.

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