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NEC Launches New Fault Tolerant Server Models Optimized for Server Consolidation


NEC’s New Fault Tolerant Servers Support New Intel Xeon Processors
With Capabilities to Run Virtual Operating Systems

Santa Clara. — NEC Corporation of America, a premier provider of IT, network and identity management solutions, today announced the launch of new Fault Tolerant (FT) servers, the NEC Express5800/320Fd-MR mid-range server and the NECExpress5800/320Fd-LR entry-level server. These latest NEC Express5800 FT servers featuring improved processing power and maintainability are designed to simplify server consolidation by supporting virtual operating systems for the first time.

NEC’s Fault Tolerant servers deliver exceptional uptime through dual modular hardware redundancy. The main hardware components, including CPU and memory, are replicated to run in lockstep - the two redundant modules process the same instructions at the same time. If any hardware component fails in one module, the faulty component is isolated automatically and processing continues uninterrupted through the other module without downtime or data loss.

“The concept of fault tolerant redundancy in hardware components is not new in the industry,” said Marc Hafner, vice president of departmental servers, IT Platform Group, NEC Corporation of America. “However, NEC has been the leading manufacturer of Xeon-based fault tolerant servers since they were first introduced in 2000.”

The Express5800/320Fd-MR and Express5800/320Fd-LR feature Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® processors, achieving a 20% performance gain over the existing 320Fc-MR model, utilizing the new Intel 5400 Series Xeon processors. Other enhancements have been made in order to support additional operating systems capabilities, such as the Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition, allowing higher levels of main memory to be fully utilized.

A significant capability is the additional support for virtual operating systems. This allows multiple guest operating systems to run in a single physical server, simplifying server consolidation and migration from old operating systems. When running virtual operating systems with multiple applications, it’s especially important to utilize Fault Tolerant servers that can significantly reduce the risk of hardware failure. Running multiple applications on a standard server means a single hardware failure could bring down multiple applications affecting more users and having greater impact than if those applications were spread across multiple physical servers. This can interrupt a company’s key business operations. The NEC Express5800 FT servers provide the cost-effective solution to this problem by running two servers in parallel significantly reducing the risk of downtime due to hardware failure.

A key component that enables the fault tolerant capability is the GeminiEngine™, a chipset designed by NEC. It is the heart of lockstep processing in the Express5800 FT servers specially engineered to synchronize the two redundant modules while preventing CPU performance degradation. Hardware redundancy extends even to the connection between NEC’s FT server and storage. This redundancy further improves data availability, simplifying consolidation of physically distributed file servers and Web servers to a single FT server.

“NEC’s experience and long history of FT server production has helped us understand many of the user requirements for redundant hardware server modules,” said Hafner. “We have designed the NEC FT server to meet the stringent expectations of IT managers.”

One feature that addresses these expectations is Active UpgradeTM support of the 320Fd-MR and 320Fd-LR, designed to significantly reduce the planned downtime necessary to install security patches and software upgrades without system reboot. With Active Upgrade™, hot-fix patches and application updates can be applied to one module while the other module continues normal operation.


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