HP has given a huge boost in power to the NonStop range of resilient servers it acquired following its merger with Compaq.
The high-end fault-tolerant machines - previously branded as Compaq's Himalaya range and acquired by Compaq when it took over Tandem in 1997 - are used widely in the financial services industry and for ebusiness applications.
HP has focused on adding significant performance improvements to both the hardware and software in the range.
The new NonStop S8600 server is based around a MIPS R14000 microprocessor, running at 500 Mhz. An 8MB L2 cache doubles the cache size of existing NonStop S-series machines. Memory capacities of 1GB, 2GB, 4GB or 16GB per node are now available.
HP has also announced additions to its existing NonStop S76 server range.
The range already includes the high-end S76000 and low-end S760, but will be joined by a mid-range machine - the S7600 - and an entry-level S76 product. These are due to be released in the third quarter of this year.
All of the new machines include software for driving Java and web services.
The NonStop EAS release 1.1, a J2EE-based application server, and NonStop JMS messaging service are included with all hardware. Support for Simple Object Access Protocol (Soap) and Extensible Markup Language (XML) is also included, as well as the NonStop SQL/MX 1.5 relational database.
Dave Russell, business manager for NonStop Servers at Hewlett Packard, said: "The NonStop architecture underpins development using Java. Customers are already using Java as an application environment, so this supports existing practices."
HP claims 2.5 times performance improvement over previous NonStop products.
"Customers run critical applications on these servers and don't want to change the hardware frequently," Russell said. "We introduce new products at infrequent intervals so that upgrades provide a significant improvement in performance."
According to Gary Barnett, principal consultant at Ovum, HP is taking the right approach in waiting for a substantial performance boost. "HP is in a curious position in competing with Solaris in this market. It's a big challenge to find incremental value, so this magnitude of change is essential," he said.
By combining the market positions of HP's Unix distribution with Compaq's hardware, Barnett said HP would also do well in the enterprise server market. "HP-UX has had the stronger position in the UK, but Compaq's hardware was also well regarded," he said.
Russell said that new markets were becoming interested in the NonStop range. "The servers and software provide building blocks for many companies who want to run enterprise-level applications," he said. "That mirrors HP's general approach to development."
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