Blade servers are essentially "computers on a board" operating in a compact chassis to reduce complex wiring issues. The new products include server, storage, appliance, network, switch and management blades and are supported by HP Openview service manageability tools.
HP said its blade server products will initially run on the Linux operating system distributions of Red Hat, Debian and SuSE. Because Linux is very lightweight, has lower memory requirements and makes better use of CPU power, HP said it is an ideal operating system for blade servers, which require flexibility and scalability in highly constrained environments due to heat restrictions. HP-UX and Microsoft Windows are expected to be available on the blade server in the first half of 2002.
The HP blade server chassis, server blade, storage blade, network blade and management blade are currently available. Pricing starts at $1,925 for a single server blade or $7,525 for an HP blade server chassis with one management blade.
In related news, HP announced a blade server alliance program to help accelerate the delivery of compatible products. The program helps both hardware and software providers to develop, test and market their blades products. Testing certification programs are expected to be available in 2002.
Vendors that have already joined the alliance program include Radisys, which is working with HP to integrate enterprise manageability functions into future blade server CompactPCI products and chassis systems.
"We''re pleased to be able to support HP on this open platform as it will enable enterprise and carrier class OEMs to enhance and standardize remote system manageability," said Stuart Cohen, vice president for Radisys. "The addition of HP''s enterprise manageability specification is an excellent complement to our existing line of embedded CompactPCI server blades and will further enable Radisys to provide open standard building blocks for OEM manufacturers."
vendors include hardware-based Internet
security solutions company Somicwall, which plans to deliver its firewall and
VPN appliance technology to customers of HP''s blade
servers, and PolyServe, which plans to offer software that enables
high-availability and application management across server blades.