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Unisys Demonstrates 32-processor System Running Itanium

Unisys Corp. strengthened its position as the vendor with the single most scalable server for Windows and Intel products during a demonstration at the Intel Developer Forum.

Unisys showed one of its 32-processor ES7000 servers filled with 64-bit Itanium processors. All 32 processors of the Unisys ES7000 were running as a single system under one operating system -- Windows .NET Server Beta 2 code. The distinction is relevant because the Unisys ES7000 server can be separated in two or more partitions, each running a separate operating system. The ES7000 can run either 32-bit or 64-bit Intel processors.

Using processor affinity software similar to what was available in Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, Unisys ran SAS/Insight across 28 processors and SAS' WebHound on the other four processors for the demonstration.

"This is the first time a 32-way server running Itanium with Microsoft's .NET Server operating system has ever been shown to the public," said Mark Feverston, vice president for Unisys Server Programs.

Whether there is a market need for a server that big is an open question. Unisys lost Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. as resellers for the 32-processor ES7000 earlier in the year. Both vendors cited a lack of market readiness for Windows servers that large.

Meanwhile, most vendors' initial 64-bit offerings hold four processors or fewer.

While Unisys did not label the code as Windows .NET Datacenter Server, the final code it must ship on its large systems will have to be. Microsoft says the Windows Advanced Server, Limited Edition, that it released this week will support no more than eight processors. Those requirements will carry forward to the 64-bit Windows .NET Advanced Server product.

SAS/Insight is a data visualization package. WebHound is for analyzing Web logs and producing reports on Web usage.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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