Upgrades from four way to eight way Profusion based Pentium Xeon servers will not be straightforward.
"Anyone that is saying that it is an easy upgrade is disingenuous, you will have to throw away everything except the disks and maybe the memory," said Garry Owen, senior product marketing manager for Dell servers.
Dell and IBM did not join Compaq and Hewlett-Packard in announcing four way servers capable of in-chassis upgrade last year. Compaq and HP still maintain that their Pentium II and Pentium III Xeon machines can be upgraded, but it will require an entirely new motherboard, which means removing the processors, chipset and I/O.
"The vast majority of customers will choose to write off the servers and use them for something else, rather than upgrade them," admitted Hugh Jenkins, product marketing manager at HP.
For customers of Siemens, one of very few server manufacturers that has chosen to stick to its own chip set rather than adopting Intel's Profusion chip set, upgrades will be easier.
Whereas Intel and its OEMs puts all the processors, chipset, memory and I/O on the same motherboard, Siemens has adopted a modular approach, putting all ingredients on separate boards, enabling modules to be upgraded individually.
"You add a second board with four processors along side the existing processor board and a board with the second level cache that slots in above. It took me 25 minutes," claimed Phil Baker, enterprise server product manager at Siemens.
Siemens, along with Compaq and HP, said it had stockpiled sufficient stocks of Pentium II and Pentium III Xeon processors to fulfil any orders for upgrades.
Siemens had hoped to capitalise on continued delays to Intel's Profusion architecture with a March launch, but its own development issues means that it will now only enjoy a three week window of opportunity, admitted Baker.
Last week, Siemens announced the Primergy 870-80 eight way Pentium III Xeon server and 870-40 upgradeable four way machine; both are scheduled to ship in August. The firm is shipping the 670-40 standard four way and a 170 single processor box.
It also introduced a modular rack mounted server, the Node70-40, which is a four processor box, four units high, to be used with a separate S40 storage system, for customers, such as ISPs, that wish to separate storage disks from processors.
For more stories see this week's issue of PC Week UK
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