Analysis: Zeus, HP unveil speedy Linux Web server

Hewlett-Packard and Zeus recently announced a Linux Web server optimized for the 64-bit Intel Itanium 2 processor that they claim can perform 10 times as many secure Web exchanges per second as previous HP/Zeus Web boxes.

They fine-tuned a version of the Zeus Web Server to run on HP's new Itanium-based rx2600 and rx5670 servers running Linux or HP-UX. According to Zeus, the new Itanium 2-based HP/Zeus Web Server boxes could perform 750 Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) transactions per second. Comparatively, benchmarks of Zeus running on Pentium III devices peaked at 175 SSL transactions per second. (Zeus on Solaris and UltraSPARC III machines only did 60 SSL transactions per second).

Zeus recently became the third most-used Web server on the public Internet, surpassing Sun's iPlanet Web server, but far behind leaders Apache and Microsoft Internet Information Server, according to Web site survey company Netcraft. While Zeus is built on open standards, it is not free, such as Apache, but it does run on Windows, Linux and Unix platforms, whereas Microsoft's Web server does not.

HP's rx2600 is a dual-processor server that comes with 900-MHz or 1-GHz Itanium 2 processors and up to 12G bytes of memory. The box will ship in the US later this month and cost US$6,730. The rx5670 can have up to four 900-MHz or 1-GHz Itanium 2s, and comes with 48G bytes of memory. It will ship in August for US$21,000. Zeus Web Server starts at around US$1,700. Both servers can be pre-installed with Linux or HP's Unix flavor, HP-UX.

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