Vendors Power Up Server Blade Offerings

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Aug 7, 2003

Hewlett-Packard Wednesday began a processor upgrade across its line of HP ProLiant blade servers and introduced the next generation of its GbE2 Interconnect Switch, a networking switch that delivers high-performance switching capabilities for HP ProLiant BL p-Class infrastructures.

Hewlett-Packard, Tatung, and Revario announced souped-up server blades this week. HP announced processor upgrades for its second-generation ProLiant BL servers; Tatung unveiled a new, ultra-dense blade server; and Revario released Revario Virtual Blade, a Linux server consolidation solution.

Specific enhancements to the blade servers are the following:

  • Updated the second-generation HP ProLiant BL10e blade server with a 1-GHz/1M Level 2 cache (400-MHz front side bus), ULV Pentium M processor support, and PC2100 266-MHz DDR memory support
  • Enhanced the second-generation HP ProLiant BL20p server to contain a 3.06-GHz/1M processor with a Level 3 cache (533-MHz FSB) and Intel Xeon processor DP support
  • Upgraded the HP ProLiant BL40p blade server with a 2.8-GHz/2M and 2.0-GHz/1M Level 3 cache (400-MHz FSB) with Xeon processor MP support

The HP ProLiant BL GbE2 Interconnect Switch is supported by a new 24-port Gigabit switch module designed by Nortel Networks specifically for the HP ProLiant BL p-Class blade servers. According to HP, the switch module is among the most advanced integrated blade system Ethernet switches available.

HP ProLiant BL architectures are designed to enable rapid deployment, provisioning, and re-provisioning of resources as demands change. The system features built-in management and virtualization capabilities to enable enterprises to adjust to demands and easily add, remove, or re-deploy applications to different blade servers and storage resources.

In recent benchmarks, these beefed-up HP ProLiant blade servers demonstrated increased performance capabilities over traditional designs. For example, the HP ProLiant BL40p blade server recently posted a Microsoft Exchange 2000 Benchmark result of 13,500 MMB2, making it the first four-processor blade to achieve this result.

(The MMB2 benchmark simulates the type of workload seen by customers as they increasingly rely on messaging services deployed in today's corporate e-mail environments.)

HP, which holds a 55 percent market share in IA-32 blade server revenue in the United States, is currently the only major vendor shipping the latest generation 3.06 533-MHz processor blade technologies. It is also the only major vendor shipping four-processor blade servers.

Tatung Sharpens Its Blade Collection

Tatung Science & Technology (TSTI) this week introduced an ultra-dense blade server capable of accommodating up to 14 independent server blades in a single 3U form factor chassis.

The TUD-3114 features integrated switch blades and management blades, and supports up to 196 Intel Xeon-processor-based servers per rack. In a single 3U rack-mountable chassis, the TUD-3114 can accommodate up to 14 server blades, two switch blades, two management blades with failover capability, three redundant power supplies, and two high performance fan modules.

Each server blade can be configured with power-saving low voltage Intel Xeon processors at 2.0 GHz, up to 4 GB of ECC registered DDR266 memory (two DIMM slots), IDE 2.5 inch hard disk drives, dual 1 GB Ethernet (using Intel PRO/1000 MT Dual Port Server Connection) connected to two switch blades, video controllers with VGA and SVGA resolutions and support for USB CD-ROM and FDD


Components are hot-swappable with each blade featuring activity indicator LEDs for the CPU, primary and secondary networks and HDD. The TUD-3114 blade server supports Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Linux operating systems.

"The new servers fully integrate all the features that today's extremely cost-conscious customers demand. We have greatly increased the number of servers that can be installed in a single rack, while lowering power usage requirements using high performance Intel Xeon processors. At the same time, we have reduced the number of wire connections, and also provided powerful data management software for deployment, platform, power and workload management," said Kam Chan, president of TSTI, a U.S. subsidiary of Tatung.

Hemant Dhulla, director of enterprise volume platform marketing for Intel noted, "These servers can address the need of data centers to increase server density and manageability with high performance processors while meeting existing power requirements."

The TUD-3114 is scheduled to begin shipping later this month. The system is priced starting at $7,970 for a system with two server blades, one switch blade, and one management blade.

Revario Takes the Virtual Route to Linux Server Consolidation

Revario, a vendor that specializes in open source related software, this week unveiled Revario Virtual Blade, a Linux server consolidation solution.

Revario Virtual Blade extends User Mode Linux (UML) to simplify and facilitate server consolidation. UML enables enterprises to run multiple independent versions of Linux distributions on a single server. By enhancing and extending UML with the addition of comprehensive security and automatic firewall generation, Revario believes enterprise can get maximum use in a minimal amount of time.

The result, according to the vendor, is a commercially supported, automated, and secure virtualization solution that enables enterprises to run multiple, stand-alone Linux instances on a single server in a highly configurable manner.

Revario claims its Virtual Blade product enables highly secure and manageable Linux instances totally independent of one another, as well as offering efficient, isolated, and secure development, quality assurance, and production environments. It also offers improved system and application availability.

"Revario Virtual Blade enables open source innovation to support corporate Linux server consolidation efforts," said Jason Sango, vice president of technology for Revario. "When you consider the amount of server under-utilization that exists today and the fact that the top mandate of IT operations today is to, 'do more with less,' Revario Virtual Blade strikes at the very core of what all companies are trying to achieve."

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