Server Snapshots: Spotlight on HP

by Drew Robb

For HP, the x86 ProLiant line is where most of the action is, but don't count the Itanium-based Integrity line out just yet.

Drew Robb
HP (Palo Alto, Calif.), isn't doing too badly in the overall server market. According to the latest report from IDC (Framingham, Mass.), the OEM reinforced its position as the No. 2 server vendor worldwide for 2007. In particular, HP asserted itself in the x86 and blade sectors. The research firm reported that in the x86 space, HP owns 35 percent of the market, while its share of blade server revenue is a whopping 47.7 percent.

ProLiant Changes

ProLiant, then, is the jewel in HP's crown. Since our previous snapshot in June 2007, HP made many of changes to its ProLiant lineup.

"HP has concentrated on the valuable midsize segment and introduced new servers designed to meet the needs of these customers," said Krista Satterthwaite, manager of HP ProLiant product marketing. "We announced the new HP ProLiant DL160 G5, DL165 G5, DL180 G5 and DL185 G5, which are ideal for midsize customers with limited space, budgets and technology staffing."

Beyond this, HP introduced new models and upgraded its ML, DL and BL (BladeSystem) lines, including systems based on Intel's new quad-core Xeon processor 7300 series. The new DL580 G5 and BL680c G5, for example, is intended for virtualization and mission-critical applications, such as database, business intelligences, ERP, and large mail and messaging platforms.

"The ProLiant DL580 G5 delivers impressive performance with twice the number of cores, DIMM slots, hard drives and I/O slots compared to the previous generation," said Satterthwaite. "The newest server blade, the BL680c G5, is intended for both enterprise and midsize data centers."

HP is also touting the advantages of low-wattage versions of the quad-core Xeon 7300 Series processor. This, said Satterthwaite, provides greater performance-per-watt efficiencies for power-constrained IT environments. Low wattage processors are available for models like the DL580 G5 and BL680c G5.

Other new ProLiant servers include the DL180 G5, DL185 G5, DL165 G5 and DL160 G5. The ProLiant DL185 G5, for example, is a low-cost, 2P 2U server for storage-intensive applications and scale-out storage architectures supporting such platforms as Microsoft Exchange12, Oracle and SAP. It can also be used for mail and messaging, video capture, online gaming and high-performance computing. The dual-processor server features AMD Opteron dual-core and quad-core processors as well as up to 32MB of DDR2 memory. Optional data protection technology, known as Smart Array, is available.

Satterthwaite also highlighted the energy-efficient features of many of these new servers. All of the DL100 series servers, for example, offer an optional high-efficiency power supply that is up to 90 percent efficient at 80 percent load.

"HP is dedicated to providing an efficient technology environment to power infrastructure," said Satterthwaite. "Our priority is meeting the needs of midsize businesses and fueling channel growth with offerings designed specifically for this customer segment."

Maintaining Integrity

While ProLiant is HP's x86 platform, and is thus powered by Intel and AMD processors, Integrity servers feature the Intel Itanium chip. Since our last snapshot, the biggest shift in the Integrity line has been the addition of the Integrity BL870c server blade, the second Integrity blade for the HP BladeSystem c-Class. This was the only new server added, and no Integrity models have been end-of-lifed.

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"The BL870c combines impressive memory capacity with high availability and reliability of HP Integrity to a bladed form," said Lorraine Bartlett, director of server marketing for business critical systems at HP. "Businesses can take advantage of the flexibility, power, cooling and management efficiencies of HP BladeSystem."

The BL870c is a full-height, double-wide server blade designed for the HP c-Class enclosure. It incorporates four Itanium dual-core processors with the HP zx2 chipset and supports 24 DDR2 memory DIMMs and three optional public mezzanine cards. The BL870c also incorporates an SUV (Serial/USB/Video) port and four small-form factor hot-plug SAS HDDs. Pricing for the BL870c starts at just under $8,000.

This blade is targeted at enterprise and midsize data centers. Bartlett said the enhanced memory capacity and superior floating point capabilities of the Itanium chip pay off in particular when it comes to high performance and technical computing requirements.

"The BL870c was also designed for mainstream and midsize data centers, as it offers a powerful virtualization engine for application consolidation, especially in IT organizations utilizing HP-UX and OpenVMS operating environments," she said. "The BL870c is a low-cost platform which can also be utilized as a test and development platform for IT organizations utilizing HP-UX, OpenVMS, Integrity Windows or Integrity Linux on Integrity cell-based systems."

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Further, the Integrity BL870c server blade can take advantage of five HP Solution Blocks. These are basically example configurations based on best practices or HP testing. They are combined with deployment tools for a specific application designed to customize the blades to fit individual business requirements.

"They are easily modified as the business needs change or the business grows," said Bartlett. "HP offers BL870c Solution Blocks for Oracle PeopleSoft, SAP ERP enterprise, BEA/SOA based on AcquaLogic and WebLogic, Siemens PLM software (formerly UGS TeamCenter Park), and IBM WebSphere."

Although this blade is the only major shift in the Integrity line, the company did refresh the entire HP Integrity and Integrity NonStop server lines with Intel Itanium 9100 series (Montvale) processors. According to Bartlett, these deliver better automation and improved energy efficiency, as well as higher performance.

What is in the pipeline for the servers? In the main, the company intends to keep up with the latest processor and operating system developments. But it is also planning to release more Itanium-based blades in the near future.

"HP will continue to focus on providing businesses with bladed options, so you can expect to see more from us there," said Bartlett. "In addition, HP Integrity servers will provide full support for Windows Server 2008 and SQL 2008."

HP's Servers at a Glance

Server Line
Descriptionx86 serversItanium-based servers and 24x7 fault-tolerant platform with NonStop OSHP NonStop S-series servers, HP Integrity NonStop servers, HP 9000 servers, HP AlphaServers, Carrier-Grade servers
Processor Type ML Servers:
Intel Xeon 3000, Xeon 5100, Xeon 5200, Xeon 5300, Xeon 5400, Core 2, Pentium D, Celeron D and AMD Opteron, Athlon
DL Servers:
Intel Xeon 3000, Xeon 5100, Xeon 5200, Xeon 5300, Xeon 5400, Xeon MP, Pentium D, Celeron D and AMD Opteron 2000, Opteron 8000
BL (BladeSystem) Servers:
Intel Xeon 5100, Xeon 5200, Xeon 5300, Xeon 5400, Xeon MP, Itanium2 and AMD Opteron 200, Opteron 2000, Opteron 8000
Intel ItaniumNonStop S-series Servers: MIPS RISC R14000 and R16000
HP Integrity NonStop Servers:Intel Itanium
HP 9000 Servers: PA-8900 and PA-8800
AlphaServer systems: 64-bit Alpha EV7z, EV7, EV68
Carrier-Grade: Xeon, Itanium 2
Processor RangeML Servers: 1, 2 and 4
DL Servers: 1, 2, 4 and 8
BL Servers: 2 and 4
Entry-Level: 1-4, 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: 2-4,080
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: Entry-Level: 1-2; Midrange: 1-8; High-End: 2-64;
Carrier-Grade: 1 and 2
Operating Systems Windows, Debian, Oracle Enterprise, IBM OS2 Warp Server, Linux, NetWare, SCO OpenServer & UnixWare, Solaris, SUSE, Red Hat and VMwareHP-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: NonStop OS
HP Integrity NonStop Servers: NonStop OS
HP 9000 Servers: HP-UX 11i
HP AlphaServers: OpenVMS, Tru64 UNIX
Carrier-Grade: HP-UX, Tru64 UNIX, OpenVMS, Windows, Linux
Servers ML Servers:
ML 110 G5
ML 115
ML 150 G5
ML 310 G5
ML 320 G5
ML 350 G5
ML 370 G5
ML 570 G4
DL Servers:
DL 140 G3
DL 145 G3
DL 160 G5
DL 180 G5
DL 185 G5
DL 320 G5
DL 320s
DL 360 G5
DL 365
DL 380 G5
DL 385 G2
DL 580 G5
DL 585 G2
BL (BladeSystem) Servers:
BL 20p G4
BL 25p G2
BL 35p
BL 45p G2
BL 60p
BL 460c
BL 465c
BL 480c
BL 680c G5
BL 685c
Integrity Superdome
Integrity Blade
Integrity NonStop servers Integrity NonStop
NonStop S-series
Integrity NonStop Servers
NonStop CME Telco Servers
HP 9000 servers:
High-End (Superdome)
HP AlphaServer systems
This article was originally published on Thursday Mar 6th 2008
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