HP Adds New Itanium to Integrity Server Line

by Andy Patrizio

But the processor is only the beginning of the story, says HP, as it overhauls its high-end servers across the board.

Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday announced an overhaul and expansion of its Integrity line of mission-critical servers, starting with the use of Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC) new Itanium 9300 processor but also revamping the entire architecture of the servers for improved performance.

At the heart of the new servers is the Itanium 9300, codenamed "Tukwila." This is Intel's first quad-core Itanium and features a number of new instructions for reliability, availability and serviceability, plus virtualization.

But the new Itanium is one of many upgrades, according to Michael McNerney, director of server planning and marketing in the Business Critical Systems unit at HP (NYSE: HPQ). "It's a lot more than the processor. We've been looking at innovating the system and software as well. We've been looking forward to bringing those systems forward," he told InternetNews.com

For starters, HP has optimized the Integrity line to meet with HP's converged infrastructure, called HP BladeSystem Matrix, a combination of server, storage and networking with systems management. It's similar in approach to Cisco's Unified Computing System and Hitachi's unified compute platform.

The new Integrity systems are built on HP's BladeSystem Infrastructure, with a new Blade Scale Architecture that simplifies the deployment and management of a number of blades in one enclosure. It also allows HP to provide a single architecture based on BladeSystem that supports everything from x86 processors to the Superdome-class of top-end Integrity systems. This means they all use the same parts, which makes finding spare parts (like power supplies) easier.

HP's Superdome 2

The Integrity line is for two- to eight-socket blades, while a just-announced Superdome 2 is also built on the Blade Scale Architecture and is for eight- and 16-socket blades. It uses HP's Crossbar Fabric, which intelligently routes data between blades and I/O with complete redundancy.

HP is claiming a 450 percent improvement in reliability in the new servers thanks to more than 100 improvements in the area of reliability and uptime performance. This includes the Superdome Analysis Engine, which does preemptive error analysis. If, for example, a memory DIMM starts showing read/write failures, the Analysis Engine alerts the administrator and makes a recommendations on what to do.

The Superdome 2 also has end-to-end retry. Every transaction, whether it is a memory read or write, I/O read/write or disk read/write, is actually tracked from beginning to completion. So if it fails, the system goes back and retries it and knows where it failed.

For all of the blade servers, HP is offering Blade Link technology to link two blades and make it appear as one to the system. Clients can also mix and match Integrity, ProLiant x86 and StorageWorks storage blades in the same enclosure.

The HP Integrity blade servers are available now, the Superdome 2 is slated to ship this summer.


Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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This article was originally published on Tuesday Apr 27th 2010
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