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Unisys Demos Big Systems Running Next-Gen Chips

Unisys Corp. used the Intel Developer Forum this week to show off two of its highly scalable, Intel processor-based servers. Unisys demonstrated 32-way and 16-way systems running the next generations of Intel 32-bit and 64-bit processors.

Both systems ran on beta versions of Windows .NET Datacenter Server.

The 32-processor system is a variation on the currently available ES7000, outfitted to support Intel's next line of 32-bit multiprocessing chips, the Intel Xeon MP. The Xeon MP is related to the Xeon DP, for dual-processing, which Intel launched this week. Both feature a 400 MHz front-side bus and Hyper-Threading technology, which allows a processor to behave as two logical processors in threaded applications.

But the Xeon MP directly replaces the aging Intel Pentium III Xeon multiprocessing chip, which tops out at 900 MHz and is currently sold in four-processor and larger systems. The Xeon MP is scheduled for release sometime this quarter.

Unisys expects to release a version of the ES7000 refitted for the Xeon MP in the first half of this year. Unisys is currently the only vendor selling 32-processor systems for use with Intel processors.

Unisys calls the architecture underneath its ES7000 servers Cellular Multi-Processing or CMP. Unisys' other demonstration at Intel's San Francisco event used a prototype version of the next generation of CMP systems. That system ran 16 of Intel's upcoming McKinley processors, the codename for Intel's second generation of 64-bit processors.

The Unisys roadmap for those second generation CMP systems calls for them to come out sometime this year in 16-processor configurations, and eventually grow to as many as 128 processors in a single huge cabinet.

Microsoft's highest-end operating system, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, currently supports 32 processor configurations. The next version, Windows .NET Datacenter Server is expected to scale to 64 processors in 64-bit systems, while retaining the 32-processor scalability cap in 32-bit systems.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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