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HP Refreshes Blade Portfolio

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Hewlett-Packard Monday reorganized its server blade portfolio and offered a peek at some new management tools.

Hewlett-Packard Monday reorganized its server blade portfolio and offered a peek at some new management tools.

The newly named HP BladeSystem combines the current HP blade servers, services, and networking infrastructure with new management software and virtualization tools to lower the TCO for blades.

Rick Becker, vice president and general manager of the newly created BladeSystem Division said, “By 2008, we expect that 50 percent of HP’s scale-out architecture business will be based on the HP BladeSystem.”

Becker described the BladeSystem upgrade path as seamless and cited a 25 percent savings in HP deployments over traditional server deployments in the course of a year.

Of the Big Five server vendors, HP was the first to market with its ProLiant blades. According to second-quarter 2004 numbers from IDC, however, HP now plays second fiddle to IBM, having shipped 32 percent of units. IBM, according to the research firm, shipped 44 percent of all units. The market is fluid, and IDC predicts blade servers will account for one out of every four servers sold by 2007.

HP unveiled several soon-to-be released software management tools, including a centralized dynamic hub for blades that offers utility Data Center capabilities to enable administrators to manage, control, and virtualize an enterprise’s IT infrastructure as one system from a single remote console.

The new management software tools, which are integrated with HP OpenView technology, can be applied to installed or new blade infrastructures:

  • HP Systems Insight Manager 4.2 (SIM) is the heart of the collection. It provides a single hub of control for all system components and access to all tools for complete life cycle management through one console. Version 4.2 will be the first version of SIM to leverage plug-ins, including HP OpenView technology.
  • HP Essentials Virtual Machine Management Pack integrates with SIM 4.2, to provide management, control, and a unified view of virtual machines and associated host server resources, including virtual machine products from Microsoft and VMware.
  • HP Essentials Automation Controller Pack coordinates other HP management tools to enable simplified and automated event-based policy and tasks across the blade infrastructures (e.g., provisioning of nodes, operating systems, IP addresses, and load balancers).
  • HP Essentials Patch and Vulnerability Pack integrates SIM 4.2 and uses HP OpenView Radia to identify and fix vulnerabilities across the HP BladeSystem using HP patch management technology.
  • Other tools on the road map are the HP Essentials Intelligent Networking Pack, which detects and analyzes network bottlenecks; HP Essentials Insight Lights-Out 1.62, a built-in management processor for quick and easy setup of blade servers and enclosures; and power governing technology for Intel Xeon-based blade servers.

The management suite is sold a single bundle, although it can also be purchased as separate components, Becker said. When purchased as a bundle the suite is priced at about $600 per node.

Becker noted that the three management tools are scheduled to begin shipping next quarter; the virtual machine software is scheduled to begin shipping in first-quarter 2005.

Becker also said that an HP-UX blade is in the works, with planned availability for the first half of 2005.

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