A growing number of businesses rely on mission-critical IT applications—applications that, if unavailable, would have significant business consequences. Lack of mission-critical application availability or loss of vital information can result in missed business opportunities, reduced productivity, lost revenue, dissatisfied customers, damage to the company’s reputation, and even legal liability;
First introduced in 2000 and now in its sixth generation, the NEC Express5800/R320 is the product of a hardware partnership between NEC and Intel, and of a software partnership with Intel. It is a fault tolerant server that’s ideally suited for mission-critical virtualization, database, and e-mail services. The R320 is a 4U rack-mounted server with two six-core Intel Xeon CPU modules that are kept in lockstep. The CPU lockstep design results in a fully fault tolerant server than can endure a CPU, motherboard, network, or storage hardware failure with no interruption to applications and end-users. The continuous high availability of the Express5800 works transparently with applications, operating systems, and virtual server software as it eliminates the need for host-based clustering software, cluster-aware applications, and SAN attached storage.
This report documents ESG Lab hands-on testing and analysis of the NEC Express5800 Fault Tolerant server with a focus on the operational simplicity, continuous availability, and cost effectiveness of turn-key fault tolerance in a consolidated virtual server environment. Testing in a VMware environment is used to highlight the simplicity and savings of an NEC server with fault tolerance built into the hardware compared to traditional VMware clustering with fault tolerance implemented in software running on a pair of servers.