In December 2002 AMI-Partners, a global research firm, forecast that worldwide IT and telephony spending by small to mid-sized businesses will grow by seven percent this year, compared with a consensus of other analysts estimates that big business IT spending would be marginal at best.
It didn’t take HP long to react to this type of market forecast. This week the company introduced a new server into its lineup of networking hardware designed specifically for small to mid-sized business. The HP Server tc2120 replaces the HP Server tc2110, which was discontinued last month, and it does so with a significant boost in performance for about $100 less.
More than ever small businesses are pressured to reduce costs and trim their IT infrastructure expenditures. Tight purse strings drive drastic measures — budget constraints have prompted some small businesses to use misappropriated desktop PCs as basic small office servers. Starting at $549, The HP Server tc2120 resolves the dilemma of price versus functionality.
James Mouton, vice president, platform division of HP Industry Standard Servers, said the tc2120 offers an exceptional value to small businesses
“The new tc2120 server was specifically designed to address the needs of our most value-conscious customers who demand simple setup, dependable performance and excellent service and support,” said Mouton.
Inside The Tower
The tc2120 uses a server specific chipset to deliver true server functionality. Unlike typical desktop PCs, the tc2120 supports a 64-bit peripheral component interconnect (PCI) bus rather than the standard 32-bit bus. The doubling of bus width has a significant effect on networking capabilities because the PCI bus hosts all networking devices and PCI cards such as gigabit network interface cards (NIC) or (SCSI) disk controllers.
When running multiple tasks in parallel, such as communicating with the network and writing to the SCSI drives, the higher bandwidth 64-bit bus reduces bottlenecking that can impact system performance. Additionally 64-bit PCI support increases the number of supported devices, such as extended PCI (PCI-X) cards or redundant array of independent disks (RAID) controllers, which are not able to run on 32-bit buses.
There are many performance boosts when using RAID in a server, but the primary benefit is data integrity. Data integrity is achieved from mirroring data across two or more hard drives. In the event of a hard drive failure, the data will not be lost. Once a failed hard drive is replaced, then the RAID controller can re-build the array, ensuring the integrity of that data. The downside is that a RAID controller is not included in the HP Server ts2120. But it’s an easy enough add-on at for about $600.
The low-end edition of the HP Server tc2120 at $549 comes with an Intel Celeron 1.80GHz processor. While this would provide you with a decent file and print server for 30, if you need to store a small database you can step up to a Pentium 4, 2.53GHz processor for $799.
Pentium 4 is the latest generation of data processing technology from Intel for single processor systems. This increases the Front Side Bus (FSB) speed from 133MHz in your average desktop PC, to 533MHz, which produces higher cycle rates exceeding 3.0GHz. These changes translate into improved system performance because the FSB is the pipeline that carries information to and from the CPU — to the memory and chipset.
The faster the FSB pipeline, the more transactions per second. The more transactions per second, the better the system performance. By increasing FSB speed the HP Server tc2120 delivers increase transaction throughput and better overall system performance. By not including expensive graphics or sound cards found in desktop PCs the tc2120 is able to offer true server functionality for about the same price.
When it comes to memory, the HP Server tc2120 comes with 128MB standard. But certain applications perform better with more memory. Newer operating systems such as Windows 2000 and Novell Netware 6.0 recommend memory configurations greater than 128MB. For better operating system performance, memory capacity on the HP Server tc2120 can be upgraded to 4GB.
Additionally, the HP Server tc2120 is equipped with ECC memory, short for Error Checking and Correcting. This helps protect a server from failing due to errors in the transfer of data to and from the memory. Unlike standard memory, ECC memory can actually detect and correct single-bit errors. With standard memory systems if even a single-bit memory error occurs, a server usually stops functioning. This also makes the HP Server tc2120 relatively hassle-free in most small office settings.
The HP Server tc2120 offers a variety of operating systems, including Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server 2000, Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and the forthcoming Microsoft Windows Server 2003 releases. When it comes to non-Windows systems, the tc2120 server supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS, SuSE Linux, and as mentioned earlier, Novell NetWare.
Whether you need to manage files better, share more printer connections, host a Web site, or store a growing database, the HP Server tc2120 simplifies computing tasks to adapt to your changing business demands — all of this for about the same price of a desktop PC.