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Server Specs: Data center downtime hits

Data center downtime hits; HP user group thriving one year after Interex folds; Pentadyne starts shipping new flywheel for energy storage.

Data center downtime hits, named the most visited Web site in the U.S. earlier this month, suffered unplanned downtime over the weekend due to a power outage, according to recent reports from users at

More data center news:

Encompass: Bringing HP users into the fold

Data center power backup isn't just about batteries anymore

The power outage on Sunday was attributed to blackouts across California, the result of a massive heat wave that swept the state. The social networking site is owned by media giant News Corp.

HP user group thriving one year after Interex folds

In July 2005, Interex, a 31-year-old Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) user group with 100,000 members, disbanded and canceled its HP World conference in San Francisco.

One year later, Chris Koppe -- a board member of the remaining HP user group Encompass -- said former Interex members are coming over to Encompass in droves. Encompass isn't publishing numbers, but "We've blown our expectations [for membership gains] by 400%," Koppe said.

Koppe, a former board member for Interex, said the user group folded unexpectedly due to financial constraints. "The major revenues came from a single conference event and things weren't going the way they needed them to."

Encompass and HP are holding a user conference, the HP Technology Forum, in September, the first since Interex's demise. HP CEO Mark Hurd is scheduled to give the keynote address.

Pentadyne starts shipping new flywheel for energy storage

Chatsworth, Calif.-based Pentadyne Power Corp. has released its new flywheel energy storage device meant to supplement or replace batteries for power backup in the data center.

The flywheel, called the VSS+DC, boasts of a stronger level of power for a shorter period of time. Where the previous flywheel generated 120 kilowatts of backup power for 13 seconds, the new one can pump out 190 kilowatts for 13 seconds.

Flywheel power is generated through kinetic energy, which has as its variables mass and velocity. When the primary power is on, it gets the flywheel spinning; in Pentadyne's case, as fast as 50,000 rotations per minute. When the power goes out, even for a second or two, the flywheel releases the built-up kinetic energy back into the data center.

Proponents of the technology say flywheels are better than batteries because they have a longer shelf life, encounter fewer failures, and are more environmentally friendly. A lot of data centers, however, are unfamiliar with the technology or wonder about its reliability considering it's a mechanical process rather than the chemical reaction that takes place with batteries.

Pentadyne's new flywheel costs about $35,000 and comes in a 24-inch-by-33-inch-by-70-inch cabinet.

NEC releases server based on new Intel Itanium chip

NEC Corp. this fall will release two new servers with the new dual-core Intel Corp. Itanium processor in them.

The two servers will be available in September. The eight8-way Express5800/1080Rf is expected to start at $80,000; the 32-way Express5800/1320Xf will start at $120,000. Both machines will come with the new Intel Itanium 9000 chip, memory up to 512 GB, up to eight partitions, and the option of a Linux or Windows operating system environment.

NEC is a Japan-based company. Its American holding, NEC Corp.oration of America, has headquarters in Irving, Texas.

Unisys revenues down

Unisys Corp. last week reported a revenue drop in the last quarter and announced that layoffs at the Blue Bell, Penn., Company would be wider than previously thought.

In a second-quarter earnings report, Unisys said its revenue fell from $1.44 billion to $1.41 billion, while analysts were expecting a small increase to $1.45 billion.

The company, which cut 2,200 jobs in the second quarter of this year, expects to slice another 1,300 off this quarter and complete almost all of the 5,500 expected cuts by the end of the year.

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