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
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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||NonStop2e3000
Servers3, and Telco
|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
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;
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):
Other ML Servers: ML530,
9000 Superdome 32,64, or 128-way;
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
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
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.