A 20:1 proposition

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Users also should understand the road map for the vendor platform on which they're consolidating. Because HP uses cell board technology, the Superdome is plug-and- play when it comes to processors, Continental's York says. Each Superdome supports as many as four cell board modules, each of which can be configured with one to four PA-8800 processors. As the need for processing power increases over time, the cell boards can be hot-swapped to accommodate the growth.

"That means we can grow this box for a long time, York says, and adds that he expects five to seven years out of his Superdome.

Cummings is a freelance writer in North Andover, Mass. She can be reached at jocummings@com cast.net.

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