InformationWeek: Linux Blade Servers May Cut In On UNIX At AOL
Tuesday October 01 2002 @ 10:55PM EDT

An average of 2.5 million subscribers are active on America Online at any given time, keeping some 800 RISC-based Unix servers busy managing log-ons, user name and password verifications, and parental-control activations. But some of those servers may be headed for retirement: The AOL Services division of AOL Time Warner is beginning several months of testing to determine whether blade servers using Intel chips may be a more efficient way to handle the load.

AOL Services has installed 56 IBM BladeCenter servers -- 14 "server-on-a-board" systems per chassis -- running Red Hat Linux 7.3 to route a portion of the Web traffic that's now handled by its Unix-based back-end routing servers. If they deliver the advantages in cost, scalability, and performance that Norman Koo expects, AOL will replace all 800 Unix systems with blade servers during the next five years. "Blades do more work, take up less space, and use less power," says Koo, executive director of corporate technology at AOL Time Warner.

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