Shifting its enterprise game up another gear, Data General Corp is announcing a third generation of its ccNUMA technology using Intel Corp’s Deschutes chip which doubles the number of processors its high-end Unix AViiON servers can support to 64. Performance should get a four-fold boost with Deschutes offering twice the performance of Pentium Pro plus […]
Shifting its enterprise game up another gear, Data General Corp is announcing a third generation of its ccNUMA technology using Intel Corp’s Deschutes chip which doubles the number of processors its high-end Unix AViiON servers can support to 64. Performance should get a four-fold boost with Deschutes offering twice the performance of Pentium Pro plus the increased number of CPUs, and price/performance should improve too. Available by year-end, up to four of the AV20000 servers, each with 16 four- way Audubon 2 Deschutes boards linked with Dolphin Technologies’ SCI interconnect, can be clustered for a total of 256 CPUs. Single AV20000 systems will support up to 64Gb RAM and 400Tb disk via 144 PCI I/O slots. DG says Pentium Pro and Deschutes boards can be mixed and matched within AV20000. The company’s DG/UX Unix which runs on the servers has been enhanced to support file sizes of 2Tb and a Java developer toolkit and application environment. DG’s pre-configured QuickCluster package now supports two 32-way nodes.
In announcing its plans for Deschutes and 256-way scaling, DG’s getting its nose ahead of commercial Intel Unix server rival Sequent Computer Systems Inc, which currently offers two-node clusters of 32-processor NUMA-Q 2000 systems. Sequent says it own Deschutes plan will increase to 64 – or 16 quads – the number of processors each NUMA-Q node will support; clusters will support four NUMA-Q nodes. However Sequent says it rarely sees DG in competitive bids, and characterizes the ccNUMA AViiON as a mid- range niche offering where its average install is between $500,000 and $1m. Despite all of the hype, DG’s ccNUMA business is clearly not core to its business. Sequent did $212.38m sales on its NUMA-Q servers in the fourth quarter, 82% of its $259m revenue for the period. However sales of DG’s high-end NUMA-based AViiONs was reckoned to be around $17m or 4.6% of its $365m first quarter revenue, up from $12m in its fourth quarter. The average ccNUMA AViiON configuration is a sub-$300,000 system with four to eight processors. Around three quarters of DG’s server sales are Windows NT boxes and it’s currently all over the map with that strategy, a situation which doesn’t look like being resolved anytime soon. It offers Advanced Logic Research Inc’s six-ways, the Renegade AV8600 using Axil Technology Inc chipsets and co- designed boards and has agreement with Corollary for the Intel unit’s delayed Profusion eight-way architecture, now expected to appear as a Deschutes machine. DG claims over 300 AV20000 systems installed. The NUMALiiNE technology can support a theoretical 1,024 processors versus Sequent’s NUMA-Q which scales to 63 quad boards. There’s talk of running Unix and NT together on a ccNUMA node, but nothing concrete.