March 01, 2001, 5:26 PM — TWO FORMER EXECUTIVES of Compaq on Tuesday will announce they have formed a new server company that will use alternative processor technology to introduce fresh competition into the already fierce high-density server market.
Gary Stimac, employee number 5 at Houston, Texas-based Compaq, along with Michael Swavely, former president of North American operations for Compaq, will introduce their new company's management team and server product line at a press conference Tuesday.
The company's new line of servers, code named "ICE," will utilize a low-power processor from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Transmeta, makers of the revolutionary Crusoe chip, sources said.
In its processors, Transmeta uses a form of code morphing that has the potential to reduce the power demands of the chips, resulting in a lower operating temperature.
This could give Transmeta-powered servers the advantage of running cooler than servers powered by chips manufactured by Intel and AMD, according to sources familiar with the technology.
Heat plays a major factor in the high-density server market. High-density servers are comprised of ultra-thin general purpose servers and server appliances which routinely get stacked tightly together by telcos, Web sites, and service providers.
"They are using the [Transmeta] chip because they are going into a marketplace where the real issue is how dense can you make your server racks. The low power aspect of this is almost a side issue,'' said one source briefed by the company.
Time to market and the ability to remotely configure an "ICE" server also ranks high on the new company's agenda, sources said. This may be another reason why Stimac and Swavely chose to incorporate Transmeta processors in "ICE" servers: Transmeta chips can be upgraded remotely, via software.
"They (Stimac and Swavely) are looking hard at some of the issues that these data centers have. And one of them is how quickly they can get their new customers up and running," said one source close to the company and familiar with its plans. "The quicker you get up, using as few resources as possible, can make a difference to your bottom line," he said.
The new company, which has recruited a handful of ex-Compaq engineers who helped launch that company's server business, is placing a strong emphasis on making it easy for experienced and less experienced administrators to set the system up and bring their customers on-line.
This week, the high-density server market will intensify even further as Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard each introduce new thin servers. Compaq launched two new thin servers a week earlier. Dell and IBM complete the crowded field with existing thin server offerings.