HP has launched a new line of Integrity NonStop servers that the company says offers improved performance over its other entry-level servers that require high uptime.

The NonStop Integrity NS2000 server family is targeted at small and medium-sized businesses looking for fault-tolerant servers that require close to 100 percent availability. Depending on customer needs, the rack-mount servers could go into small or large data centres.

The servers include Intel's Itanium chips, which have an advanced RAS (reliability, availability and serviceability) feature to reduce data corruption and improve performance reliability. Advanced RAS features can correct errors that may occur when data is being crunched on a processor.

"The Integrity platform has more robust RAS ... than x86 processor servers," said Randy Meyer, director of NonStop product management at HP. HP also bundles its own software to ensure better system reliability, Meyer said.

The servers enable fast response times in applications involving payment systems, securities trading or electronic patient records, HP said. They are also priced low enough that they should appeal to SMBs, Meyer said.

For example, the server could appeal to a relatively small hospital that needs the same high-availability server as a much larger hospital but within a smaller budget, Meyer said.

HP pitches NonStop as an alternative to IBM's mainframe server offerings, but its adoption has been relatively slow, said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT.

The Integrity NS2000 line is an effort to take NonStop servers downstream to medium-sized business where it could find new customers. The lower prices could also be an effort on HP's part to retain customers and prevent them from moving to other mainframe platforms.

The server improves on the performance of previous NonStop entry-class systems, HP said. The NS2000 server family doubles the performance of NonStop Integrity NS1000 servers, which also come with Itanium chips.

The NS2000 servers support between two to four dual-core Itanium 9100-series processors, with each chip supporting between 8GB to 16GB of memory. For $125,000 (£96,000), an NS2000 includes two 1.4 GHz Intel Itanium 9100-series processors with 12MB of L3 cache, six 72GB 15,000 rpm SAS (serial-attached SCSI) disks and eight Ethernet ports.

The server family is now available worldwide through distribution channels.