While two of the top Unix vendors get ready to launch high-end Unix servers, Hewlett Packard (HP) took the wraps off its new 16-way, mid-range server built around its own flavour of the operating system.
The HP Server rp8400, which is capable of running 16 processors at once, will ship worldwide immediately, and will be targeted at service providers and users looking to work on technical computing tasks.
The company said it will make its 650Mhz and 750Mhz PA-Risc 8700 chips available on the new server.
Meanwhile, competitors IBM and Sun Microsystems both intend to boost their Unix server line up.
Big Blue said it intends to seize a bigger chunk of the market with its upcoming Regatta server which makes use of self-diagnosing and self-healing features designed for more dependability.
Scheduled for release in the fourth quarter, Regatta uses up to 32 of IBM's new Power4 processors. It will be the first member of the eServer family to use the Power4 chip that comprises two processor cores running at more than 1Ghz.
Sun plans to upstage IBM by a week with the release of its top-end Unix server, codenamed Starcat, on 26 September. Based on Sun's UltraSparc III chips running between 750Mhz and 900Mhz, Starcat will support between 74 and 105 processors. The company said that as many as four of the machines can be clustered to act as a single computer.
The high-end Risc server will provide advanced features for data centres that contain support for up to 18 partitions, and a more robust Gigaplex interconnect for higher bandwidth.
Market researchers at IDC have reported that the Unix server industry as a whole declined 16.2 per cent in the second quarter, the biggest fall for more than five years.
The firm said that IBM was the only top-five player to increase its revenues in the worldwide server market, with 5.3 per cent growth from $3bn a year to more than $3.2bn.
HP saw its total server revenue decline by 18.9 per cent from the same period a year ago to $1.6bn.
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