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IBM's Netfinity is an Intel-based enterprise server line that is based on IBM's X-architecture. IBM describes the X-architecture as a design blueprint that addresses the increasing need for communicating and managing huge amounts of information and the demands of business-to-consumer, business-to-business, and intra-business applications on technology platforms. Netfinity and another server line called xSeries are closely related. xSeries models are identified with an x preceding the model number (for example, the x430. Netfinity servers are identified without an x (for example, the Netfinity 7000).
The Netfinity server line uses copper chip wiring and Silicon On Insulator (SOI) microprocessor technologies. Netfinity also uses 64-bit computing, which IBM began using before the introduction of Netfinity with both the AS/400 and RS/6000 servers. IBM also enhanced existing memory systems to support large amounts of memory in Netfinity servers. Currently, the Netfinity 7000 M10 supports up to 8 gigabytes (GBs) of memory. IBM plans to offer Netfinity servers with up to 64 GB of memory.
Netfinity servers may be clustered for increased reliability and decreased downtime. Netfinity servers also interoperate with existing servers such as the AS/400 and the RS/6000. Netfinity includes the Communication Server for Windows NT that allows Netfinity applications to communicate with other applications, whether interoperable or not, using IBM's own Systems Network Architecture (SNA) protocols as well as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (ocols as well as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (as well as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (l as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (ransmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (ssion Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (l Protocol/Internet Protocol (ocol/Internet Protocol (nternet Protocol (t Protocol (ocol (TCP/IP).
For diagnostic purposes, Netfinity includes an onboard systems management processor that allows for remote management and diagnostics of Netfinity servers even if turned off. If a server fails, it can connect to IBM's Help Center using Mobile Service Terminal (MoST) connect for diagnostic tests. RemoteConnect is another application that allows a Netfinity server to self-diagnose, issue an alert, call a service organization, and request a replacement part or a technician.
To read a career tip on Netfinity, check out search400's tip No limits to Netfinity's promise .
This was first published in July 2001