Server Snapshots: HP Integrity rx2660

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted May 7, 2007


The HP rx2660 Integrity server is an Itanium 2 based server that replaced two earlier Integrity servers — the rx1620 and the rx2620 — when it began shipping at the start of 2007. It contains one or two single- or dual-core Intel Itanium 2 processors, up to eight Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives, and up to 32 GB RAM. It is available in rack or pedestal form factors.

With the rx2660, an Integrity server for SMBs is not an oxymoron. The server is available in either rack or tower form factor and with one or two single- or dual-core Itanimum processors, so even the largest of enterprises will find something to satisfy.

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HP has introduced this entry-class Integrity server with a broad market in mind.

"The HP Integrity rx2660 server offers new levels of entry-class value," says Brian Lee, entry-class server business manager at HP. "It's a cost-effective and versatile platform that delivers high rack density and performance per watt."

Sound familiar? This is similar to the same mantra x86 marketers trot out when discussing the latest rack server models. And that's no accident.

"HP is trying to position the rx2660 into the high-volume market dominated by x86 systems," says Gartner analyst John Enck.

Lee characterizes the rx2660 as built to deliver business-critical computing capabilities and Unix strengths. He described it is targeted at small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises, alike.

While HP hopes to gain x86 business, this Itanium model's more traditional competitors are the Unix-based IBM System p5 510Q and the Sun Fire T2000.

On the SPECjjb2005 benchmark by the Standard Performance Evaluation Corp (SPEC), a dual-core rx2660 with two Itanium 2 processors and running HP-UX achieved a score of 80,884 Business Operations per Seconds (BOPS). In comparison, a similarly configured p5 510Q recorded 54,820 BOPS, and a Sun T2000 scored 74,365.

When running Java, the HP machine also outscores its Sun counterpart on the Java Operations per Second (JOPS) SPEC test — 219 JOPS per core for the HP box, compared to 100 for Sun. HP argues that the Sun machine is more than four times the cost, and that much of the touted energy savings of the T2000 equates to no more than one light bulb, making a difference in electricity rates about $100 per year.

"The rx2660 has enough performance and capacity to easily handle application-tier and transaction workloads," says Lee. "It's also the right choice for database, Java, business intelligence and technical computing requirements."

Multiple Configurations

In terms of cost, an rx2660 with one dual-core 1.4 GHz/12MB processor module, 4 GB of RAM and two SAS drives costs $6,440. According to Lee, this version is appropriate for developers and entry-level application tier requirements. At the higher end of the scale, an rx2660 with two dual-core 1.6 GHz/18 MB processor modules with 8 GB RAM, and 2 SAS drives costs $15,340. This version is aimed at heavier application, database and transaction workloads.

"There are countless configurations available when considering all of the options," says Lee. "Memory ranges from 1 GB to 32 GB, and internal storage scales to about 1.2 TB."

Processor cores can vary from 1 to 4 using the HP zx2 chipset. The system bus has a bandwidth of 8.5 GB/s. Dual-core models are either 1.4 or 1.6 GHz Itanium 2 processors. The single core version is 1.6 GHz. Eight DIMM slots are available for DDR2 SDRAM.

Operating systems supported are HP-UX 11i, OpenVMS, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (Enterprise and Datacenter Editions) and Linux (Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS/ES 4 and Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10). A year or two back, HP rolled its AlphaServer hardware line into Integrity. Thus, OpenVMS now runs on Itanium-based systems. OpenVMS and HP-UX are probably going to be deployed at the higher-end of the scale, whereas Linux and Windows are more likely to be used in configurations that compete with x86 gear to keep costs down.

On the storage side, the server can house up to eight SAS drives. They are available in 36 GB (10 K rpm), 73 GB (10K rpm) and 146 GB (10K rpm) versions. With eight of the largest ones in place, the unit holds 1.168 TB.

Like all OEMs, HP talks up the energy efficiency of its servers. The rx2660, however, doesn't have the necessary specs to be considered a low-energy server. Instead, it has energy reduction features in common with other HP boxes.

"Energy consumption is reduced in the HP Integrity rx2660 server in a number of ways vs. the previous generation of Integrity servers it is replacing," says Lee. "The Integrity rx2660 utilizes more energy efficient components such as DDR2 SDRAM, dual-core Itanium 2 processor modules and small form factor SAS hard drives."

In terms of virtualization, this Integrity machine uses HP Integrity Virtual Machines (Integrity VM). Integrity VM is a soft partitioning and virtualization technology within HP's Virtual Server Environment. This enables users to create multiple virtual servers or machines within a single HP Integrity rx2660 server.

Next Up

Next up for the rx2660 is a makeover courtesy of the Intel Montvale processor in late 2007. The move to this new chip will strengthen what Gartner analyst Enck sees as the sweet spot for this server — the high performance computing (HPC) space.

"Although the rx2660 is positioned as a general-purpose server, it is clearly intended to address the processing-intensive workloads found in HPC environments," says Enck. "The HPC market originally embraced Itanium because of its processing power; HP is hoping to rekindle that attraction with this offering."

The rx2660 Close Up

Name rx2660 The rx2660 in rack form
Vendor HP
Platform Itanium
Dimensions Rack form factor, 2U
3.4 inches (86 mm) high by 19.0 inches (482 mm) wide by 26.5 inches (672 mm) deep; Weight: 62 lbs
Tower form factor
20.2 inches (512 mm) high by 10.8 inches (275 mm) wide by 27.1 inches (688 mm)deep; Weight: 87 lbs
Processor Details One or two single- or dual-core Intel Itanium 2 processors
Hard Drives Up to 8 SAS drives
Operating Systems Windows Server 2003, HP-UX 11i, OpenVMS and Linux
Configuration Options Base system with 1 dual-core 1.4 GHz/12 MB processor module, 4 GB memory, 2 x 73 GB SAS hard drives, and DVD-ROM drive, $6,440;
With 2 dual-core 1.6 GHz/18 MB processor modules, 8 GB RAM, 2 SAS drives and DVD-ROM drive, $15,340
Availability Now shipping
Warranty 3 years

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