On the surface, there hasn’t been a lot of action from HP since its last Server Snapshot nine months ago. That’s because there hasn’t been much that could be regarded as a stunning new addition to the line up. But the company continues to roll out a steady stream of incremental upgrades, not the least of which was the addition of quad-core chips to ProLiant and dual-core chips to Integrity.
Incremental upgrades are hardly dramatic, but they are key to keeping up with the feverish pace of technology. HP’s addition of quad-core chips to its ProLiant line and dual-core chips to its Integrity line are prime examples of this.
“HP has added quad-core Intel Xeon processors for increased power and efficiency to address customer needs for performance, energy efficiency and server virtualization,” said John Gromala, director of ProLiant server product marketing at HP. “Our biggest development trends have taken place in the power and user-friendliness arenas.”
The trend continues, then, of the server vendor going out of its way to improve the power consumption rates and price performance of servers. HP has been building such features into its various product lines.
Gromala also mentions advancements to ProLiant subsystems — management, networking, storage, acoustics and power efficiency. In addition, new ProLiant Essentials software has been released to help customers take advantage of the latest multi-core technology and align IT infrastructures with changing business needs.
ProLiant servers function with a wealth of operating systems. Depending on the model, they run Windows, Debian, Oracle Enterprise, IBM OS2 Warp Server, Linux, NetWare, SCO OpenServer and UnixWare, Solaris, SUSE, Red Hat and VMware.
On the blades front, the HP BladeSystem c-Class has turned HP into the top blade manufacturer since it was introduced about a year ago.
“HP has leapfrogged IBM and now holds a commanding lead of the worldwide blade market, with over 45 percent shipment share,” says Gromala. “Businesses of all sizes are adopting c-Class as their blade infrastructure of choice. To date, more than 2,500 businesses rely on HP BladeSystem c-Class.”
The HP ProLiant BL460c, for example, has features comparable to a standard 1U rack mount. The BladeSystem c7000 enclosure supports up to 16 BL460c blades. These blade servers have quad-core or dual-core chips, DDR2 fully buffered DIMMs, serial attached SCSI (SAS) or SATA hard drives, support of multi-function NICS and multiple I/O cards, embedded RAID capability, and enhanced remote lights-out management to remotely manage the server over a LAN or the Internet. Pricing starts at $2,029.
But ProLiant isn’t only about blades and rack servers. The ProLiant ML115 server, for example, is an entry-level tower aimed at the growing IT and budgetary demands of small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Powered by dual-core AMD Opteron 1000 series and single-core AMD Athlon 64 3500+ processors, it has enough power for data-intensive server applications. Pricing starts at $499.
What can we expect in this server line in the next few months? Once again, nothing earth-shattering appears to be on the horizon. But expect plenty of upgrades nonetheless.
“Further developments will include processor advancements for greater computing power and efficiency, and broader availability of quad-core processors,” says Gromala. “In addition, expect more server management solutions to increase ease-of-use and energy efficiency.”
|Recent Server Snapshots
Since ServerWatch’s last HP Server Snapshot, there have been a couple of major announcements with regard to Integrity. In September 2006, HP moved from single-core Itanium processors to dual-core Itanium2 processors.
“New HP Integrity rx6600 and rx3600 servers have twice the capacity and twice the energy efficiency compared to the previous generation,” says Lorraine Bartlett, director of worldwide Integrity server marketing at HP. “The HP zx2 chipset offers entry-class servers some of the RAS features typically associated only with mainframe systems.”
HP followed that up in February with the release of HP-UX 11i v3, which delivers flexible capacity and high availability. Bartlett says the operating system provides 30 percent better performance on average compared to HP-UX 11i v2. Additional enhancements to HP-UX 11i and VSE were designed to make virtualization easier to deploy, secure and manage. This announcement also heralded a new entry-level HP Integrity blade (BL860c) and server (rx2660) with lower price points.
The BL860c server blade is part of HP’s BladeSystem c-Class. It is a two-socket machine featuring three choices of Intel Itanium2 dual-core processors and up to 48GB memory via 12 DIMM slots. In addition to HP-UX, the c-Class blades can run OpenVMS, Linux and Windows. The BL860c also features four Gigabit Ethernet ports standard, support for three standard c-Class I/O mezzanine cards and up to two internal SAS hot plug disk drives. If required, it can be mixed and matched with ProLiant server blades and even HP StorageWorks storage blades within the same c-Class enclosure. A base configuration has a starting list price of $3,677.
The rx2660, on the other hand, is an entry-class rack or pedestal server. Bartlett says it’s good for database, Java, business intelligence and technical computing requirements. A base configuration has a starting price of $4,931.
“HP Integrity servers will be refreshed with a new release of dual core Itanium 2 processors by the end of the year,” says Bartlett. “This will offer customers a higher memory density, faster I/O connectivity, and a variety of expanded benefits.”
While NonStop has been placed under the Integrity brand, HP still considers it important enough to merit the roll-out of several new models. These servers use MIPS-based processors as well as Intel Itanium2.
The NonStop NS1000 Server is an entry-class commercial server. It is a software fault-tolerant solution for businesses that require real-time access to critical business applications.
The NonStop NS3000AC Server is the most recent addition. Tailored for the telecommunications industry, it supports complex application requirements.
“HP will be refreshing its NonStop over the next few months,” says Bob Kossler, director of product management for Integrity NonStop servers, HP.
HP’s Server Lines, at a Glance
|Server Line||ProLiant||Integrity||Other Servers|
|Description||x86 servers||Itanium 2 processor based servers and 24×7 fault-tolerant platform with NonStop OS||HP NonStop S-series servers, HP Integrity NonStop servers, HP 9000 servers, HP AlphaServers, Carrier-Grade servers|
|Processor Type||ML Servers:
Intel Xeon, Xeon 3000, Xeon 5000, Xeon 5100, Xeon 5300, Pentium D, Celeron and AMD Opteron, Athlon
Intel Xeon, Intel Xeon 5000, Xeon 5100, Xeon 5300, Pentium D, Xeon MP, Celeron and AMD Opteron 8000
BL (BladeSystem) Servers:
Intel Xeon 5000, Intel Xeon 5100, Intel Xeon 5300, Itanium2 and AMD Opteron 200, Opteron 2000, Opteron 8000
|Intel Itanium-2||NonStop S-series servers
MIPS RISC R14000 and R16000
HP Integrity NonStop servers: Intel Itanium-2
HP 9000 servers
PA-8900 and PA-8800
64-bit Alpha EV7z, EV7, EV68
Xeon, Itanium 2
|Processor Range||ML Servers: 1, 2 and 4
DL Servers: 1, 2, 4 and 8
BL Servers: 2 and 4
|Entry-Level: 1-2, 1-8
Midrange: 2-8, 2-16 , 2-32
High-End (Superdome) 2-16, 2-32, 6-128
Integrity BL Blade: 2
Integrity NonStop server: 4-16
|NonStop S-series servers:
HP 9000 servers:
Entry-Level: 1-2, 1-4, 2-8;
Midrange: 2-16, 2-32;
High-End (Superdome): 4-32, 4-64, 12-128;
HP AlphaServer systems:
Carrier-Grade: 1 and 2
|Operating Systems||Windows, Debian, Oracle Enterprise, IBM OS2 Warp Server, Linux, NetWare, SCO OpenServer & UnixWare, Solaris, SUSE, Red Heat and VMware||Entry/Mid/High Level:
HP-UX 11i v3, HP-UX 11i v2, Windows Server 2003, Linux and OpenVMS
Integrity BL Blade: HP-UX 11i v3, HP-UX 11i v2
Integrity NonStop server: NonStop OS
|HP NonStop S-series servers:
HP Integrity NonStop servers:
HP 9000 servers:
OpenVMS, Tru64 UNIX
HP-UX, Tru64 UNIX, OpenVMS, Windows, Linux
ML 110 G4
ML 150 G3
ML 310 G4
ML 350 G5
ML 370 G5
ML 570 G4
DL 140 G3
DL 145 G3
DL 320 G5
DL 360 G5
DL 380 G5
DL 385 G2
DL 580 G4
DL 585 G2
BL (BladeSystem) Servers:
BL 20p G4
BL 25p G2
BL 45p G2
Integrity NonStop servers Integrity NonStop
| NonStop S-series
Integrity NonStop Servers
NonStop CME Telco Servers
HP 9000 servers:
HP AlphaServer systems