At Macworld Conference and Expo this week Apple Computer unfurled its road map for the server room. Apple announced product changes for server room offerings (Xserve and Xserve RAID) as well as its consumer software lineup (iLife, iTunes, Final Cut Express), and its digital music player (iPod).
The hardware items are scheduled to begin shipping in February; the software improvements are available now.
To help cultivate more interest in its server and storage hardware, Apple added a special section at the conference, called MacIT, targeted at enterprise IT managers. The sessions offered information about Mac-based servers, services, security, IT management, integration, and networking.
One thing that should get the server room set excited is that Apple is now configuring its new Xserve boxes with G5 processors. The new versions ship as a 1U form factor with either single or dual 2.0 GHz G5 processors, up to 750 GB of storage and up to 8 GB of DDR SDRAM with ECC. The boxes ship with the latest Panther Server OS and feature dual FireWire 800 ports, one FireWire 400 port, two USB 2.0 ports and an industry-standard DB-9 serial port. The system can expand using the latest 133 MHz PCI-X expansion protocol with throughput of 2 GBps. Additional cards will provide speeds of 133 MHz or 2 short form running at 100 MHz.
Not everyone sees this development as particularly innovative. Analyst Rob Enderle thought it interesting to note that while Apple may have sparked the desktop revolution 20 years ago, the company is lacking its own solutions when it comes to servers.
"Apple buys its processors from IBM, and goes to Microsoft for one of its most important applications," Enderle said in his daily briefing. "And the Super Computer they are so proud of is more IBM then Apple. InfiniBand, which makes the Super Computer work, came from a consortium headed by IBM, Dell, HP, Intel and other traditional server manufactures. Not much Apple intellectual property in this solution at all."
On the storage front, Apple has ramped up its Xserve RAID boxes to 3U rack-optimized units offering as much as 3.5 TB of online storage, SFP connectors for dual 2 GB Fiber Channel, set slicing for up to 16 per Xserve RAID and on-the-fly RAID expansion. The three newest models are priced between $5,999 and $10,999, with the highest configuration $8,000 less expensive than a Dell/EMC CX200.
Apple went a step further and certified its RAID boxes with Windows- and Linux-based operating systems, including Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows XP Pro.
"Apple knows that companies are going to have mixed server environments," IDC Senior Analyst Jean Bozman said. "This may be their smartest move for increasing their market share."
Enderle said Apple may be in over its head with storage, however, as Apple's RAID storage device competes with those from EMC, IBM, and HP. "They are likely about to find out that storage is a market that is incredibly hard to enter and that doesn't lend itself to Apple's traditional strengths," he said.
Bozman sees the changes representative of small, yet noticeable ways that Apple is reaching beyond its base.
"What you are seeing here is Apple's attempts to break its reputation as a small niche desktop player with only a few percent market share," Bozman told internetnews.com. "You can see it in the way that they are promoting their wins with iTunes and iPod. You can see it in the way they are promoting their high performance computing capabilities. You can see it in their cross-OS advancements in their Xserve RAID products."
Although server numbers were unavailable at press time, CEO Steve Jobs was beaming with the news that scientists at Virginia Tech managed to secure the No. 3 spot on the Top 500 list of supercomputers with some 2,200 G5 processors configured in a cluster.
This article courtesy of internetnews.com. The full article can be read here.
On Wednesday, both Hewlett-Packard and Oracle announced they had set new industry benchamrk records. HP claims a world record Transaction Processing Council TPC-C benchmark for the lowest price-to-performance ratio, and Oracle set a world record for the data warehousing non-clustered TPC-H 10 TB benchmark.
HP's $1.91 per tpmC (transactions per minute) marks the first time a server has broken the $2 per tpmC barrier.
The benchmark result, which had 17,192.40 transactions per minute, was achieved using the third-generation ProLiant ML350 server with one Intel Xeon 3.06-GHz processor and 512 kilobytes of cache running Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition and SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition.
HP also supplied the hardware for Oracle's record-breaking benchmark. Oracle set a new record for the non-clustered TPC-H 10 TB benchmark with Oracle Database 10g running on an HP Integrity Superdome server with HP-UX.
Oracle Database 10g achieved 49,108 QphH@10000 GB at a price performance of $118/QphH@10000 GB running on an HP Integrity Superdome server with 64 Intel Itanium 2 1.5 GHz processors with HP-UX 11i v2 and HP StorageWorks VA7100 disk arrays.
The single-system result delivers more performance per processor at less than half the cost per query/hour than the best clustered results from IBM and NCR Teradata, demonstrating that versatile single systems can handle similar workloads of clustered systems at less than half the cost. At the 10-TB database size, Oracle Database 10g and the HP Integrity Superdome produced a query/hour performance level per server four times faster than IBM's DB2 on the IBM p690.
HP and Oracle also hold the world record for non-clustered TPC-H results for the 3-terabyte scale factors.
In addition, the two vendors hold both the single-system and clustered TPC-C performance records with the only benchmarks ever to surpass 1 million transactions per minute. The records were set using an HP Integrity Superdome server running HP-UX and Oracle Database 10g and by a cluster of HP Integrity rx5670 servers running Linux and Oracle Database 10g.
GFI this week launched a freeware version of GFI Network Server Monitor, a tool released in December that automatically monitors the network and servers for failures, and enables administrators to identify and fix issues before users report them.
The freeware version allows HTTP/HTTPS and ICMP/ping checks to be configured.
The downloadable freeware version is initially an eval version and therefore the full version of 5.2 MB GFI Network Server Monitor. After the 60-day evaluation period, only the HTTP and ICMP/ping checking features remain active as freeware.
The HTTP check can be used to check the availability of HTTP and HTTPS sites and check whether the correct Web content is being served up. The ICMP/ping function monitors whether a particular server is still responding.
The freeware HTTP function can be used to check the availability of HTTP and HTTPS sites as well as enable administrators to ensure that the Web server is serving the correct content. The module enables users to create an unlimited number of HTTP checks.
A proxy server can also be used if GFI Network Server Monitor is installed behind a proxy server.
The ICMP function can be used to check whether a particular server, whether on a LAN or the Internet, is up and running and can be used to confirm that the machine is actually responding at network level.
The GFI Network Server Monitor freeware version is available for download at http://www.gfi.com/downloads/downloads.asp?pid=14&lid=1.
The product manual is available online or can be downloaded at http://www.gfi.com/nsm/nsm5manual.pdf.