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HP moves high-end Superdome to blade platform

By James Niccolai
April 27, 2010 12:47 AM ET

IDG News Service - Hewlett-Packard has unveiled some major updates to its Integrity line of Itanium-based servers, including a new edition of its top-end Superdome system based on HP's blade server architecture.

The new systems, which also include three Integrity blades and a rackmount server, are all based on Intel's quad-core Itanium 9300 series processors, known as Tukwila. They are being introduced Tuesday morning at an HP customer event in Germany.

Superdome 2 is the first big upgrade to the Superdome system since it was launched a decade ago. While the original has its own cabinet enclosure, Superdome 2 is moving to a new Blade Scale architecture that allows it be housed in a standard server rack using HP's 7000-series blade chassis. Customers will be able to manage the servers with the same tools they use for HP's other blade systems, including Onboard Administrator and Virtual Connect.

The move to a more standard blade design is a big theme for the Integrity launch, and something HP says will reduce ownership costs for customers. The three new Integrity blades are also based on HP's BladeSystem architecture, and customers will now be able to manage Integrity, ProLiant and StorageWorks blades side by side in the same enclosure, HP said.

"We're bringing the mission critical capabilities of the Integrity portfolio into our converged infrastructure environment," said Lorraine Bartlett, vice president of marketing for HP's mission-critical systems.

Moving to a common blade design should also help reduce HP's development costs, because it will be able to use technologies built for higher volume platforms. Intel has taken a similar route with some of its Itanium components. "It's all about minimizing the cost of putting an Itanium platform in the field," said Burton Group analyst Nik Simpson.

Superdome 2 won't be available until the second half of the year, and HP isn't saying much about pricing or configurations yet. It says it will be sold in eight- and 16-socket building blocks, and that the blade design will allow it to offer a starting price 40 percent lower than that of the original Superdome.

The system has a new CrossBar Fabric that HP says improves resiliency by routing data intelligently between the servers and system I/O with redundancy. The fabric also lets customers scale CPUs and memory independent of I/O for applications that need it, according to HP.

Superdome 2 has a new "analysis engine" that looks out for errors and tries to act before they occur. "It looks for any soft failures that might be indicative of a larger system failure and provides alerts before you get to that point. It can also monitor the system and determine how it should be configured for the highest performance," Bartlett said.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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