Perhaps paving the way for Steve Jobs's scheduled keynote address at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple last week announced an upgraded line of Xserve rack-mount servers, as well as the availability of its long-awaited Xsan storage area network product.
The top of the line Xserve G5 now sports dual 2.3 GHz PowerPC G5 processors and a 1.15 GHz front-side system bus, which Apple calls the fastest in the industry for a 1U rack-mount server. A single-processor 2.0 GHz G5 configuration will remain available. Formerly, the Xserve G5 was available in single- or dual-processor 2.0 GHz G5 configurations.
In talking about the school's upgraded supercomputer cluster made up of 2.3 GHz Xserves, Srinidhi Varadarajan, director of the Terascale Computing Facility at Virginia Tech, said, "1,100 Xserve servers are now achieving over 12.25 trillion operations per second, a speed increase of 20 percent over the original system's performance."
The new Xserves support up to three 400 GB drive modules, offering up to 1.2 TB (terabytes) of internal storage. The Single 2.0 GHz Xserve sells for $3,000, and the dual 2.3 GHz model sells for $4,000; these and a $3,000 cluster-optimized configuration are available immediately. The first two configurations include an unlimited client license for Mac OS X Server, allowing an unlimited number of Mac, Windows, or Linux clients to connect to the server. The cluster configuration includes a 10-client license.
At the same time, Apple says it has begun shipping its Xsan storage area network solution, a high-performance cluster file system announced last April at NAB (see "Apple NABs Pro Video Attention" in TidBITS-727).
The software, available for $1,000 per client or server node, allows up to 64 systems on a network to share files and volumes up to 16 TB in size, reading and writing to the shared storage simultaneously. Xsan works with G4- or G5-based Xserve or Power Mac computers running Mac OS X 10.3 or Mac OS X Server 10.3, or with Xserve RAID storage units. Using Fibre Channel multipathing (two Fibre Channel computers connecting a computer to the SAN), Xsan offers up to a theoretical throughput up to 400 MBps.