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HP Adopts Intel Itanium 9500 and Updates HP-UX

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted November 8, 2012


Intel is launching a new line of Itanium processors today that deliver increased performance. The new Intel Itanium 9500 processor series offers the promise of up to 21 percent less energy usage while delivering up to three times the performance of previous Itanium processors.

The Itanium 9500 has been on Intel's roadmap since at least 2007.

The Itanium 9500 is also at the core of a Mission Critical server refresh from HP that includes new Integrity and Superdome hardware. The HP update includes a new version of the company's HP-UX Unix operating system as well.

The Itanium 9500 series is one of the most robust processors that Intel has ever built with 3.1 billion transistors. The 9500 series delivers up to 54 MB of memory on the chip and up to 2 TB of DIMM memory.

HP-UX

HP will be enabling the new Itanium processors with an update to the HP-UX Unix 11i v3 operating system. In addition to the new hardware support, the HP-UX update also provides new capabilities.

HP Itanium ServersKate O'Neill, HP Product Marketing Manager, Product Marketing, Server Business Management,  explained that the new capabilities include enhanced management and security features. Threat detection on HP-UX has been sped up by a factor of 10. There are also new capacity management features to help users better manage and optimize system utilization.

Additionally, the new HP-UX update now enables HP Integrity systems to provide electrically-isolated partitions for their storage space.

Kirk Bresniker, Vice President, Chief Technologist and HP Fellow, Computer Hardware, explained that the ability to electrically hard partition is a unique feature that offers significant benefits over software-only partitioning approaches.

"Since we're doing the partitioning in firmware as opposed to having a hypervisor, there is very, very low overhead," Kirk Bresniker said. "There is almost no overhead compared to running on bare metal, but it's still a single system."

He added that with the electrically-isolated partitioned HP can take a larger system with high performance links between resources and isolate the connections.

"This allows us to take a subset of resources and create what is essentially an electrical firewall between those resources and the remainder of the system," Kirk Bresniker said.

From a scalability perspective, HP is not taking a clustering approach to scale up the new systems. Bresniker explained that the Mission Critical systems are full symmetric SMP platforms connected up with a cache-coherent fabric.

"When I'm creating my partitions it can all be configured as one copy of the operating system running over the entire set of resource," Bresniker said.

Itanium Kittson

Moving forward, HP will continue to embrace the Itanium roadmap as Intel rolls out new architectures. The next major Itanium update is codenamed Kittson. On the HP-UX side, O'Neill noted that new updates will come out every six months. Security management and virtualization improvements will continue to be a focus for HP moving forward in HP-UX.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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