Hardware Today — HP Server Snapshot

By Ben Freeman (Send Email)
Posted Jun 14, 2004


The previous HP server snapshot, published in November 2003, highlighted the vendor's attempts to tame its multiple lines, both the home-grown ones and those obtained through acquisition, by standardizing on Intel Itanium-2 and IA-32 offerings and gradually end-of-lifing other architectures.

Recent Server Snapshots
IBM
Apple
Gateway
Fujitsu
Unisys
Dell
Sun Microsystems
In the past six months, HP has shifted its processor strategy, introduced a variety of new products, and is now weathering rumors of a split. Our latest Server Snapshot examines what the vendor's been up to and what's in the cards.

Since then, HP has responded to the changing market by adding some alternate routes on its road map — namely Opteron and Intel's Nocona. With an eye on these changes, not to mention the reverberating buzz from last week's suggestion from Merrill Lynch that HP split, Hardware Today examines HP and ponders what the future might bring.

Low Riders

While IBM remained the big fish for revenue, Gartner sales numbers for the first quarter of 2004 named HP top dog for volume. HP attributes this placement to a bolstered low end that now includes a 1-way P4 Celeron-based ML110 tower server complemented with 1U 1-way racks: the DL 140 and DL 145. These and other low-end storage additions, like the MSA-500 and MSA-20, seem to be aimed directly on Dell's sweet spot.

"I think Dell really hits us most in the low end, and we addressed that by launching the 100 series of platforms," Sally Stevens, director of ProLiant platform marketing for HP Industry Standard Servers, told ServerWatch. To match Dell on price, HP has lowered its pricing to within 10 percent of Dell's.

Due Process

The Palo Alto, Calif. based vendor has also made several processor upgrades and additions since November. Recently revealed mx-2 offerings will pair two Itanium-2 Madison processors onto a single chip, doubling the processor capacity for HP Integrity Servers to a 64-bit, 128-way maximum capacity.

Elsewhere on the processor front, HP has, in the past six months, expanded from an Intel-based focus to an x86 one. The DL145 and DL585 are 1-way and 4-way capable Opteron racks, respectively. Choosing Opteron, Stevens said, was "less about 64-bit computing and more around 32-bit performance."

Opteron has clearly supplanted Itanium-2 in HP's blade road map, with Opteron counterparts to the Proliant BL20p and BL30p promised by end-of-year. Itanium-2 blades have been relegated to a less-pressing "somewhere around the '05 time frame," Stevens said. She cites Opteron's stellar performance and power-savings capabilities as incentives for its recent spoiled kid brother treatment in HP's blade server family.

Overall, though, HP's blades gleam. Despite a slow start, the vendor recently reached the milestone of having shipped 100,000 blades — which also means it has effectively doubled its penetration since November.

The newly unveiled double-density Proliant BL30p blades holster 96 Xeon DP blades into a 42U rack. HP has also taken a leadership role among big vendors in desktop blades since introducing Transmeta Efficeon desktop-based blades in April.

Autumn Years

HP's HP9000, AlphaServer, and NonStop lines may be scheduled for the scrap heap by 2010 (or, for Itanium chip replacements for the HP9000 and NonStop servers), but they continue making the most of their ostensible move toward retirement. Although HP's road map calls for replacing RISC chips with Itanium ones by 2010, it also calls for continued upgrades. For example, the new 1 GHz PA-8800 processor boosts the HP 9000-based Superdome to 128-way capacity, and, with the introduction of the TS15 AlphaServer and rp5470-4 and cs2600 ruggedized servers, HP's telco offerings are also seeing growth. In addition, according to Brian Cox, product line manager for HP Business Critical servers, new versions of the NonStop's MIPS, and the Alpha and PA-RISC processors are due out within the next year.

The following chart shows HP's server offerings in their entirety. New servers are noted bold; phased-out servers are noted in italics.

Hewlett-Packard's Server Lines at Glance

 
Other
Description Industry standard IA-32 servers PA-RISC servers for HP-UX
Itanium servers for HP-UX, Windows, and Linux High-performance servers for OpenVMS, Tru64 Unix, and Linux
NonStop2 e3000 Servers3, and Telco servers4
Processor Type x86: Xeon DP, MP, P4, Opteron PA-8700, PA8700+, PA-8800 Intel Itanium-2 (Madison) with mx-2 Alpha NonStop: MIPS R14000 and MIPS R12000 (moving to Itanium-2);
e3000: PA-8500, PA-8600, PA-8700;
Telco: PA-8600, PA-8700, PIII, Xeon, Itanium-2 (Madison)
Processor Range tc and ML300 Servers (Entry-Level): 1 and 2;
Other ML Servers: 2 and 4;
DL Servers: 1-8
Entry-Level: 1, 1-2, 1-4, 2-4, 2-8;
Midrange: 8-32;
Superdome: 4-32, 4-64, 12-128;
Pre-configured 05 Series: 2, 4, and 8
Entry-Level: 1-2, 1-4, 1-8;
Midrange: 2-16, 2-32;
Superdome (High-End with Itanium-2 mx-2): 2-16, 2-32, 6-128
Entry-Level: 1 and 2;
Midrange: 4 and 8;
High-End: 8 to 64;
Supercomputer: Up to 4096
NonStop: Up to 4080 processors;
e3000 Servers: N/A;
Telco Servers: 1 to 4 processors
Operating Systems Windows, Linux, NetWare HP-UX 11i-v1 All: HP-UX, Windows Server 2003, Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS35;
Entry-Level: Also supports SUSE;
High-End: 128-way Superdome requires HP-UX 11i-v2
OpenVMS, Tru64, Red Hat, SUSE NonStop: NonStop Kernel microkernel-based OS
e3000 Servers: MPE/iX6
Telco Servers: HP-UX, Windows, Linux
Servers tc and ML300 Servers (Entry-Level):
tc2120,
ML110,
ML110-SATA,
ML310,
ML330,
ML350,
ML370;
Other ML Servers: ML530,
ML570;
DL Servers:
DL140,
DL145 (Opteron),

DL320,
DL360,
DL380,
DL560,
DL580,
DL585 (Opteron),
DL740,
DL7607;
Entry-Level:
rp3410-2,
rp3430-4 ,
rp4440-8,
rp2430,
rp2470,
rp5430,
rp5470;
Midrange:
rp7410,
rp8400,
rp8420-32,
rp7420-16
;
High-End:
HP 9000 Superdome 32,64, or 128-way;

Pre-configured 05 Series: rp2405,
rp5405,
rp7405
Entry-Level:
rx1600-2,
rx2600-2,
rx4640-8,
rx5670;
Midrange:
rx7620-16,
rx8620-32;
High-End:
Integrity Superdome-32,
Integrity Superdome-64,
Integrity Superdome-128
Entry-Level:
DS10,
DS15,
DS20L,
DS25,
TS15 (telco);
Midrange:
ES45,
ES47,
ES80;
High-End:
GS80,
GS160,
GS320,
GS1280;
Supercomputer: SC45
NonStop:
S86000,
S76000,
S7600,
S76,
S760

e3000 Servers:
Customers are being migrated to other servers, particularly to the HP 9000 running HP-UX 11i.

Telco Servers:
rp2450,
rp5470-4,
cc2300,
cc3300,
cc3310,
cs2600
1 As Alpha Servers near end of life, HP will migrate customers to Integrity Server environment via its Alpha RetainTrust (ART) and AlphaServer Customer Assurance Programs (ACAP). HP is also currently preparing to release an update to assist customers migrating from Tru64 Unix to HP-UX 11i v2.
2 As NonStop servers near end of life, customers are being steered toward Itanium.
3 As these fault-tolerant, highly customized servers near end of life, customers are being steered toward HP 9000 servers.
4 Carrier-grade (i.e., NEBS-compliant) servers.
5 Widespread SUSE availability planned for 2H04; OpenVMS to be available in 2005.
6 Current customers are being migrated to HP servers running HP-UX, Windows, or Linux.
7 ProLiant also includes the ProLiant BL e-class and p-class blade servers. The new BL30p blade wedges 96 Xeon DP blades into a 42U rack. Proliant offerings include the ProLiant Essentials value packs, and ProLiant high availability cluster solutions.

>> Is the whole the sum of its parts?

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