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VA Linux thinks thin with new servers

VA Linux Systems, a computer maker that concentrates on building and customizing Linux servers, unveils a new model designed to be stacked as tightly as possible.

VA Linux Systems, a computer maker that concentrates on building and customizing Linux servers, has released a new model designed to be stacked as tightly as possible.

The FullOn 2x2 has two Pentium processors and is 3.5 inches tall--a height of 2 "U" in the lingo of those who bolt computers to racks to cram as many as possible in a given amount of floor space. One expected use for the system: serving up Web pages to Internet surfers.

The FullOn 2x2s cost between $2,825 and $18,787. They can accommodate as much as 180GB of data storage space spread across five hard disks. The innards of the servers can be accessed without tools, and drives can be removed and added without having to turn the system off, VA said.

Comdex: Closing the millennium VA also is targeting the scientific computing market, a group that often uses a collection of Linux systems hooked together to form what amounts to a single, much more powerful machine. This system is called a Beowulf cluster, and the possibilities of the technique also have attracted the attention of Compaq Computer, whose Alpha chip is good at performing mathematical calculations.

Next week at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, VA will announce a Beowulf computer deal with IBM that will be at Argonne National Laboratory and will use hundreds of processors, a company spokesperson said. The Beowulf effort dovetails with software VA has released designed to make it easier to administer large numbers of Linux computers.

In October, VA Linux filed its plans to hold an initial public offering to raise in the neighborhood of $70 million.