For cash-strapped enterprises, saving space in the server room is as critical as ever, but can there really be three-and-a-half-inch (i.e., 2U) servers armed with four processors to save room without sacrificing computing punch? Hewlett-Packard thinks so.
The Palo Alto, Calif. firm Monday said it has added a new member to its ProLiant family of enterprise servers, a super slim machine crafted according to customers' wishes for saving space and cutting power consumption.
Fitted with four Intel MP processors, the HP ProLiant DL560 server enables such enterprise applications as e-mail and messaging, clustered applications and enterprise resource planning (e.g., Exchange, Sendmail or Domino) -- pretty much the same qualities in most servers for midtier applications, but at a smaller, less power consumptive size. In fact, the DL560 uses about 50 percent less rack space than most similarly configured enterprise servers and can operate a loaded system on less than 550 watts of power. Cooler servers are desirable because they don't burn out as fast and save money but not devouring as much power.
James Mouton, vice president, platforms, HP Industry Standard Servers, conceded the DL560 is a hybrid of sorts, it features the density of the two-processor ProLiant DL380 server but boasts the performance of the four-processor ProLiant DL580 server. Mouton told internetnews.com the new machine is evidence of further market segmentation by server vendors to give customers more choices.
"This machine has the oomph of the 4-way servers combined with the efficiencies of the 2-ways," Mouton said. "It's got an enlarged cache and 12 gigabits of memory. It's really the power of a 4-way in a 2-way chassis."
The product goes to the heart of what many enterprises with constrained floor space in their data centers are currently looking for in hardware infrastructure. Vendors, including HP, IBM and Sun, have all been responding accordingly, although HP is the first to market with a four-processor server this slim.
John Madden, senior analyst at Summit Strategies, said HP is going for the customer sweet spot: the promise of savings.
"HP and other server vendors know that products that are built from the ground-up with cost-savings in mind, especially in this economy, are going to catch the eye of IT managers," Madden said. "It appears they've also been careful to make sure that performance is up to par for what customers are expecting."
Madden also said that since buying Compaq, from whence the ProLiant line came, HP has done a fairly good job in trying to make sure that its server products share the same management characteristics.
The machine is also primed to handle highly-anticipated operating software from Microsoft.
Steven Savinelli, senior systems engineer, Yale New Haven Health System, said his school has installed Microsoft .Net Server RC2 on the HP ProLiant DL560 server and "everything has gone smoothly."
"We anticipate that our initial install on the ProLiant DL560 server will be Windows Server 2000, but with plans to migrate to Windows Server 2003 in the near future, it is great to see that the DL560 has been optimized for next-generation operating systems," Savinelli said.
Mouton said the server also features PCI-X architecture, Wide Ultra SCSI, integrated Lights-Out (iLO) processor and Gigabit networking technology. It is supported by optional ProLiant Essentials Value Packs, including the Workload Management Pack, which allows the consolidation of one- and two-processor ProLiant servers, and the Rapid Deployment Pack for dense server environments. The ProLiant Essentials Performance Management Pack is available to identify and explain hardware bottlenecks for improved management of system performance.
The HP ProLiant DL560 server will be ready for general release March 11 at a base price of $7,099.