Azul Plans Proof Program

Server offload appliances to be verified with leading ISVs and end-user applications

September 26, 2005

2 Min Read
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Azul Systems Inc. is about to unveil a verification and benchmarking program for its server-offloading appliances.

The startup plans to launch the program in its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, allowing companies to test how well its Compute Appliances run Java-based applications from partners such as BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), Tangosol Inc., VMware Inc., and Wily Technology. (See Azul Pegs Pegasus and Azul Spins With Tangosol.)

The program could bolster Azul's claims of reducing host servers by "double digits" among early adopters of its 11-rack-unit-high box. Containing 96 to 384 processor cores, Azul's Compute Appliances are aimed at taking J2EE virtual machine processing off the shoulders of servers. So far, though, just one customer, Pegasus Solutions Inc., has been announced.

CEO Stephen DeWitt also hopes the testing program inspires partners to imagine new users for Azul's technology. While he won't be specific, he doesn't scoff at the concept of Azul's appliances assisting in a new model of data delivery that encompasses storage networking.

Since its launch six months ago, Azul, which has about 200 employees and suboffices in the U.K. and Tokyo, has assiduously controlled information about its technology, customers, and investors. (See Azul to Launch Virtual Java Box.) CEO Stephen DeWitt still won't reveal the number of customers or the amount of funding the company has.Still, he says there's plenty of money to back up claims like the following, all made today in a brief chat with Byte and Switch:

  • "We are 37 times more efficient than the x86 world!"

  • "We can reduce 100 servers to 30 or 20."

  • "It's applications dependent, but in most cases, we enable host reduction factors into the double digits."

  • "Our gear pays for itself in power and cooling alone... Our 96-way SMP consumes just 750 watts of power, our 384-way SMP, just 2.5 kilowatts of power."

  • "We're invincible!"

Well. OK, we made that last one up.

DeWitt says Azul won't be charging its ISV partners for the testing. That's no surprise: Initially, companies with their own middleware and other software infrastructure products for sale cast suspicious glances at Azul, because less processing could mean lower licensing revenues. Now, he claims, they've realized that more efficient processing can be an incentive to buy more middleware.

"We support SOAs [service-oriented architectures]," he says. "They have hugely positive ramifications for customers." Within a couple of years, he envisions that enterprises planning, not around applications, but around services will be driven to new computing platforms by the need for faster processing and lower latency.

What's not clear is whether they'll be driven to Azul's Compute Appliances. Still, a program that aims to put some muscle into this vendor's claims can at least generate some interesting partnerships -- and maybe even some actual help for end users.Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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