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HP to go NonStop For NASDAQ

HP announced today it will provide NASDAQ with more than 500 new processors to help the exchange improve its electronic order display and trading execution system.

As part of a three-year deal, the exchange purchased the processors for the HP NonStop servers it already owns and extended its license of HP's OpenView management software to make sure the servers run the way they should.

Financial terms were not made public. But HP said its financial services group has arranged it so the costs of the processors and software license remain flat for the duration of the agreement.

NASDAQ began using NonStop servers in 1982 for core applications. Today, every time a trader accesses the NASDAQ system to place a trade order, the request is routed to an application by a NonStop system.

Off the trading floor, NASDAQ uses NonStop servers for functions, such as execution, security and switching, and it uses OpenView Network Node Manager to pinpoint network problems through root cause analysis. NASDAQ also uses HP StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System (RISS) to protect its files.

While the deal may seem par for the course for HP, it is actually quite crucial, given the cutthroat competition on Wall Street, where systems vendors like HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems vie for big accounts.

IBM recently struck a deal with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to provide handheld devices, Linux workstations and assorted middleware. And Sun made an aggressive plea for customer support last fall.

To be sure, HP has a major client in the NASDAQ, which handles 7.5 million quote updates, 4.2 million trade reports, 2.6 million orders and 2.3 billion shares on a daily basis.

The exchange currently boasts 700 trading firms of various sizes that comprise the trading market, which analysts believe will grow at a projected rate of 35 percent a year largely on the boom in online trading.

Separately, HP Monday said it is adding a new program to its Smart Office initiative by to educate small and medium-sized business customers (SMBs) about the benefits of blade servers .

A departure from Big Iron and traditional rack servers, blade systems symbolize the evolution of computing in corporations in the 21st century.

The servers themselves are typically as thin as a pizza box and are powered by one to two processors. Several can slide into a chassis. What's more, they consume less power than their rack brethren and are virtually cableless. With blades, users can incrementally grow their infrastructure.

HP will offer ProLiant Business Advantage, a program to provide customers and channel partners with education and services to help spread the gospel of blade servers among SMBs, said Vince Gayman, director of worldwide SMB product programs.

HP is also offering a 1U (1U equals 1.75 inches) power supply for single HP BladeSystem enclosures bundled with a first chassis, as well as information and resources on the HP Small and Medium Business Web site to help customers know what they're getting when they buy HP BladeSystem.

IBM already offers a comprehensive blade server program for SMBs and is the current market leader for modular computing systems.