Hewlett-Packard is preparing a next-generation server codenamed SuperDome, the company has told PC Week.
HP claims that the SuperDome servers will make the new supercharged V2500 Unix server, whose existence was revealed here last week, look puny in comparison.
"It will be orders of magnitude bigger," claimed Gordon Lovell-Reed, director in charge of business integration and strategy at HP. "There are no bland increases in performance for HP. The last V2500 was more than twice the performance of the V2250. I expect the SuperDome will do the same."
SuperDome will be marketed by HP as a mainframe replacement, and is part of the company's strategy to push Unix to the highest end of the market to avoid a head-to-head fight with NT in the mid-range (see PC Week, 1 December).
SuperDome, with models running on Intel's 64-bit Merced chip (co-developed with HP) and Risc chips, will ship at the end of next year when the Intel chip becomes available. The name and the date are coincidental and have nothing to do with the Millennium Dome or Peter Mandelson, claimed Lovell-Reed.
Upgrades will be available from the V2500 to both PA-RISC machines and Merced models. The PA-RISC upgrade would just be a board swap, but an upgrade to Merced is likely to involve changing the back plane, the part of the system that the disks and PCI cards plug into.
The Intel machine will run NT or HP-UX or both, using Numa partitioning with HP's Scalable Computing Architecture (see PC Week, 1 December).
HP admitted that part of the reason for jumping on the Numa bandwagon was a knee-jerk reaction to Sun's claims that its Starfire was better than HP's V-class because it could scale to 64 processors. With Numa, HP can double that.
The dual chip roadmap for the SuperDome is intended to draw customers away from Sun, claimed Lovell-Reid.
"Sun will be a software company in four or five years and will therefore be at risk of acquisition from IBM," he said.
Sun dismissed their claims.
- More enterprise news, p28.
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