IBM Bolsters Netfinity Line with Win 2000 Servers

SAN MATEO (05/12/2000) - IBM Corp. has extended its Netfinity server line with two clustering offerings: Netfinity HA Cluster Servers, which are aimed at simplifying the clustering process.

Clustering will automatically transfer traffic from a failing server to another, "healthier" server, acting as a fail-over system to keep traffic flowing with little downtime.

Users have three chief concerns when thinking about clustering, said Alex Yost, manager of product marketing for IBM Netfinity: how to get clustering components without spending too much or throwing too much hardware at the problem; which company they hold accountable for any problems after buying all the parts needed to create a clustering solution from different vendors; and how much the sheer cost of clustering systems will be.

IBM's Netfinity HA Cluster Servers are available in two configurations, rack and tower, and include service processors to predict failures and, if needed, bring the system back up without help from IT staffers. IBM also includes 90 days of start-up support and applications for mail/messaging and databases along with the Netfinity Manager to monitor hardware and software components.

The cluster servers are powered by Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 Advanced Server and can also be configured with NT 4.0 Enterprise edition with Microsoft Cluster Services (MCS).

"This is the first Windows 2000-certified hardware solution for clustering," said John Enck, research director of server strategies at Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner Group Inc., adding that Windows customers are looking for cluster solutions "mostly because the reliability of the OS still isn't that great."

The rack cluster model, based on the Netfinity 4500R server, includes two two-way SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) servers with 667MHz Intel processors and storage resources, and it connects the two servers with an IBM EXP2000 Storage Expansion Unit to support as many as 10 hot-swap hard drives. The tower configuration, also a two-way SMP, is based on two Netfinity 5100 servers.

Available in mid-June, the Netfinity HA Cluster Server rack configuration will be priced at $23,999 and the tower configuration at $19,499.

IBM Corp., in Armonk, New York, is at www.ibm.com. Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Washington, is at www.microsoft.com

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