Preparing its users for a world of “e-services,” Hewlett-Packard Co. is calling its latest midrange server offering the ultimate platform for hosting Web or mission-critical applications.

HP chairman and CEO Lewis Platt — who is soon leaving HP as part of an internal restructuring — unveiled the new HP 9000 N-Class Enterprise Server in New York in April amid great fanfare, calling the N-Class the first step on the road to a new HP. “This is a very big deal for HP…the [N-Class is] a foundation product,” he said.

Platt said IS shops need new server capability as they attempt to deliver e-services, which HP defines as that part of e-commerce that occurs behind the scenes, tying together customers, vendors and service suppliers. The N-Class provides that capability, he said. “We will do for services what the Web has done for data,” he said.

Starting at US$48,000, officials said the new N-Class machine combines mainframe capacity with midrange pricing. It f

eatures up to eight HP 64-bit PA-8500 processors and the 64-bit HP-UX operating system. It comes with: either 360MHz or 440MHz PA-8500 chips; up to 16GB of memory; a 7.6GB/sec. memory bus; a 3.8GB/sec. system bus; a 5.8GB/sec. I/O bus; two internal hot-swap disk bays; and 12 PCI I/O slots.

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