Extra features are key to keeping

Extra features are key to keeping

Servers running mission-critical applications must have minimal downtime. That's why the features that accompany a symmetric multiprocessing Pentium III Xeon server are important.

In addition to a redundant array of independent disks with hot-swappable drives, mentioned in the accompanying story, there are several other high-availability features to consider in a server of this class. One important feature is redundant, hot-swappable power supplies. Typically, the server has three power supplies, with the third providing 30 percent of over-capacity, so it can be easily removed, while the other two stay up.

The third hot-swappable power supply is standard with some systems and optional for others.

Other high-availability items to consider include redundant Ethernet interface cards, hot-swappable cooling fans and PCI hot-plug technology. The latter option lets the user hot-plug a PCI peripheral device, such as a failed Ethernet card or SCSI RAID controller, without having to bring the server down.

Critical to any high-performance server are built-in monitoring features, which will alert an operator to actual or impending component failure. Most high-end server models offer extensive analysis on components inside the server to determine if they have a propensity to fail.

On alert

These monitoring systems, which in-volve both software and hardware'temperature probes, for instance'can generate network alerts or dial a pager to warn that a disk drive, processor, power supply or fan may need replacement.

A system is only as stable as its weakest link. Hot-swappable and monitoring features help shore up the areas where a system can run thin.

'Ted Drude

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