Fabric7 Plays Ace in Crowded Server Market

Fabric7 Systems aims to be the little fish that survives in the pond with
huge competitors.

The Mountain View, Calif., startup today introduced new, low-cost servers
with an eye on taking share in the crowded market for computing machines
populated by IBM, HP, Dell and Sun Microsystems.

To do that, the startup needs an ace in the hole: Those vendors have slurped
up most of the available market share from Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500
companies in financial services and telecommunications markets.

Fabric7 President and CEO Sharad Mehrotra said Fabric7
has worked with AMD to develop the new server architecture. He said the
machines use AMD’s Opteron processor and Direct Connect Architecture in
conjunction with networked I/O and application service resources to offer
“unprecedented levels of flexibility and price/performance.”

“If we look at the complexity engendered by the device sprawl in today’s
data center, and the mixture of everything from mainframes on up, we [see] an
opportunity to rethink certain pieces of that infrastructure and address
some of the key problems are customers talk about,” Mehrotra said in an

The CEO, who founded networking company Procket Networks and sold it to
Cisco in 2004, said that data centers currently run software from a variety of
proprietary architectures, low device utilization rates and static computing

Fabric7 uses a “fabric computing” approach in a technology called Q-Par.

In short, this is a hybrid of server and networking technologies that
customers can use to partition the hardware chassis into separate servers
and provision bandwidth for network and storage I/O. The servers are
provisioned and managed using Fabric7’s Q-Visor management system, he said.

The company’s flagship servers, the Q160 and Q80, are 16-way, x64 machines
that use a blend of x64 architectures from AMD, Ethernet and Fibre Channel
connectivity, and Linux and Windows for a more cost-effective alternative to
machines made by traditional server mainstays.

The Q160 is available now, starting at $144,000. The Fabric7 Q80 server is
available for customer trials and will be available in January, starting at
$42,000. Both machines run Red Hat Linux, Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise
Server and Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

Illuminata President Jonathan Eunice said Fabric7’s machines address the
complexity issue plaguing modern data centers.

“Fabric7 simultaneously attacks key I/O performance and manageability
challenges with a virtuoso-switched fabric, ‘mainframe-ish’ I/O acceleration,
and flexible resource allocation,” Eunice said. “It’s a new and compelling
take on enterprise servers.”

Fabric7 Systems has raised $32 million in private funding from a team that
includes New Enterprise Associates, Goldman Sachs, Selby Venture Partners,
Vanguard Ventures, Foundation Capital, Sanmina-SCI, and Yasuda Enterprise
Development Co.

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