NEC unveils fault-tolerant servers

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NEC has unveiled a portfolio of fault-tolerant servers, the Express5800/320Fd-MR mid-range server and the Express5800/320Fd-LR entry-level server..

The firm said that the products offer improved processing power and maintainability and are designed to simplify server consolidation by supporting virtual operating systems for the first time.

NEC's fault-tolerant servers feature dual modular hardware redundancy. The main hardware components, including CPU and memory, are replicated to run in 'lockstep' in which the two redundant modules process the same instructions at the same time.

If any hardware component fails in one module, the faulty component is isolated automatically and processing continues uninterrupted through the other module without downtime or data loss.

"The concept of fault-tolerant redundancy in hardware components is not new in the industry," said Marc Hafner, vice president of departmental servers at NEC.

The Express5800/320Fd-MR and Express5800/320Fd-LR feature quad-core Intel Xeon processors, achieving a 20 per cent performance gain over the existing 320Fc-MR model by utilising the Intel 5400 Series Xeon processors.

Other enhancements include support for additional operating system capabilities, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition, allowing higher levels of main memory to be fully utilised.

NEC said that a significant capability is the additional support for virtual operating systems. This allows multiple guest operating systems to run in a single physical server, simplifying server consolidation and migration from old operating systems.

When running virtual operating systems with multiple applications, it is especially important to utilise fault tolerant servers that can significantly reduce the risk of hardware failure, NEC said.

Running multiple applications on a standard server means a single hardware failure could bring down multiple applications affecting more users and having greater impact than if those applications were spread across multiple physical servers.

One feature that addresses these expectations is Active Upgrade support of the 320Fd-MR and 320Fd-LR, designed to reduce the planned downtime necessary to install security patches and software upgrades without system reboot.

With Active Upgrade, hot-fix patches and application updates can be applied to one module while the other module continues normal operation.

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