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Server Startup Claims To Pack Grid Power In Small Box

A Silicon Valley startup founded by a couple of industry veterans is scheduled to make its official debut this week, unveiling a network appliance that the company claims adds computing power to the network without making major changes.

Azul Systems, Mountain View, Calif., plans to enter field trials with its new product later this year, and make it generally available in the first half of 2005.

Because the technology provides muscle to the network as needed, it will compete with on-demand computing platforms from tech heavyweights IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems, a former employer of Azul co-founder Stephen DeWitt.

Azul, which means blue in Spanish, claims its appliance will cut costs by enabling companies to gradually reduce the number of computer servers running Java-based applications in the data center, consolidating the work of between 10 and 20 servers to one. The company, however, does not have any customers or financial data to back up its claims.

Technically, however, the company's upcoming product is interesting, Jonathan Eunice, analyst for researcher Illuminata, said. With 384 processors and 256 gigabytes of memory, the Azul appliance's alleged ability to run applications simultaneously is impressive.

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