HP unleashes new high-end NonStop server

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) took the wraps off a new top-of-the line NonStop server Wednesday, the NonStop S86000, that HP says offers as much as a 170 per cent performance boost, according to HP’s internal order-entry benchmark, over previous NonStop S-series servers.

The S86000 features the MIPS R14000 microprocessor, 8M bytes of cache, the option of 1GB, 2GB, 4GB or 16GB of memory per processor and a new high-speed hard disk drive. The system offers twice the cache and up to four times the maximum memory in existing NonStop S-series servers, HP said. A user can aggregate as many as 4,000 processors in a single system configuration, similar to a cluster, HP said.

“This is now the highest performance NonStop server,” said Pauline Nist, vice president and general manager of HP’s NonStop Enterprise Division.

Upgrading the processors in an existing system will result in as much as a 90 per cent performance boost, according to Nist. However, users who buy a new system, with faster hardware and improved software, can get up to 170 per cent better performance, she said. HP’s NonStop server group has its own “order entry benchmark” for measuring the server speed. The R14000 processor was manufactured by NEC Corp., HP said. The previous NonStop flagship product uses the R12000 MIPS processor, from the same manufacturer.

NonStop servers range in price from US$1 million to several million dollars, depending on the configuration. Traditionally, NonStop server customers are bought by financial and telecommunications companies, HP said. HP acquired the NonStop server business through its Compaq acquisition. Compaq in turn had acquired the NonStop line when it bought Tandem Computers Inc. Tandem in turn was founded by people who had left HP.

“The NonStop business has come full circle,” said Nist, adding that HP is committed to the NonStop server business. While competitors were coping with sales declines, the NonStop server business grew by 4 per cent in terms of revenue over the last four quarters with over 20 per cent of revenue coming from new customers, Nist said.

The NonStop software suite, which includes a Java Virtual Machine, a J2EE enterprise application server and a NonStop SQL database, was also enhanced. The database, for example, now offers publish and subscribe functionality, which allows users to monitor their data and automatically update the database, HP said.

Also on the software side, software integration vendors Tibco Software Inc. and SeeBeyond Technology Corp. are now partners in HP’s Zero Latency Enterprise initiative for the NonStop servers and each will port products to work on the NonStop platform, HP said.

HP is online at http://www.hp.com