NEC offers new low-end, cheaper fault-tolerant system

New fault-tolerant system available from US$12,000

NEC is seeking to broaden the reach of its fault-tolerant server line with a new low-end model that's about half the cost of the previous low-end version. It has done this by reducing some of the features found on its more expensive systems.

The big changes in this new mode, the entry level Express5800/320Ma FT, will be one socket, instead of two, and the absence of the Active Upgrade feature, which allows users to upgrade the system without any downtime.

The price starting point of the previous NEC fault-tolerant system was about US$30,000 (AUD$38,432). The company said the price of the new system will begin at about US$12,000 (AUD$15,373).

Mike Mitsch, general manager of alliance and strategy for NEC's Solutions Products Group, said the system is intended for those users who can manage planned downtime. That might involve a reboot as part of an operating system upgrade.

The server is designed to avoid any unplanned downtown, Mitsch said. It includes two modules, each with its own socket and motherboards that include a complete server. The two modules operate in lockstep. If one fails, the other is designed to keep running, according to NEC.

Mitsch said the system will likely find users in security, health care, manufacturing and virtualization. The system supports Windows Enterprise Server and Red Hat Linux.

"There is a growing demand for highly available systems," said Stephen L. Josselyn, an analyst at market research firm IDC. "For the applications that really demand higher levels of availability, I think that does provide a real viable solution for them," he said.