NEC's Win 2K server to make Aug. US debut

NEC Corp. is set to launch its highly touted Windows 2000 server based on fault-tolerant technology from Stratus Technologies International SA for the first time in the U.S. at the end of the August.

The NEC Express5800/320La server, which is based on Intel architecture, is the first low-end fault-tolerant system offered in the U.S., said Lloyd Cohen, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass. The server is priced at less than $20,000, he said.

"This will have a [huge] impact on the market," Cohen said. "There has never been a low-end fault-tolerant system [in the U.S.] Previously, you were talking $100,000. This is the only [low-end] product out there."

Fault-tolerant technology means that redundant components, such as multiple processors, hard drives, RAM and networking, perform the same functions at the same time, thereby backing up one another. The result is no interruption in processing, performance and data integrity in the event of a system failure.

The Express5800/ft Series employs dual modular redundancy configuration with duplexed CPUs, memory, hard disk drives and other main hardware in a compact housing.

NEC said failed components in its server can be detached and replaced without shutting down the system. Accompanying software provides preventive and problem-resolution features, as well as remote monitoring, allowing users to diagnose problems before they occur, according to NEC.

Because of its 99.999% availability, its fault-tolerant server is suited for situations where server downtime equals lost revenue, NEC said. The servers are being marketed to small and midsize companies that require around-the-clock operations and complete data integrity in the event of a server outage.

Tokyo-based NEC began shipping the Express5800/ft Series servers to Japan on June 29. They will be available in the U.S. at the end of August, according to Mike Mitsch, business development director of enterprise server products at Sacramento, Calif.-based NEC Computers Inc.

"This is unique in the industry and it provides a new market opportunity for NEC and a new choice for customers in high-availability options," Mitsch said.

The server line is the result of a joint development between NEC and Switzerland-based Stratus. NEC said the systems are designed for easy implementation and can be used without modifications with Windows 2000 software.

"This fault-tolerant system gives you higher levels of system integrity without complexity," Mitsch said.

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