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HP Moves NonStop to Itanium

UPDATED: Hewlett-Packard has popped Intel's Itanium chips into its NonStop computers and offered its last PA-RISC processor in order to boost the performance of its high-end servers.

HP is moving its NonStop server line into its Integrity family with the new Integrity NonStop servers, which combine the always-on availability of the NonStop machines with the scalability and cost-effectiveness of servers powered by Itanium.

The Integrity NonStop servers offer optional levels of availability with dual and triple modular redundancy, which aim to provide 99.99999 percent availability to virtually eliminate server downtime. The platform also boasts a virtual application environment to distribute applications, middleware and data across multiple nodes and new clustering technology.

Randy Meyer, director of enterprise storage and servers at HP, said the goal is to provide a machine that provides solid computing power and reliable business continuity at an affordable price for stock exchanges and healthcare and government groups that require continuous computing service.

"We can increase the availability level of the systems by 100 times," Meyer said. "We can deliver seven nines of availability, which translates to less than 3 seconds of unplanned downtime a year."

"Because we're moving into an industry standard architecture with Itanium, we can deliver a comparably configured system for roughly half the cost of an IBM mainframe doing the same workload," he continued.

HP acquired the NonStop line through its acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp. in 2002. Compaq acquired NonStop through its purchase of Tandem in 1997. To this point, NonStop machines were based on MIPS processors.

The move signals the end of the PA-RISC architecture for HP and represents another pile of chips the company is pushing to the middle of the table for its Itanium wager, a $3 billion commitment HP began with Intel in 1994.

Meanwhile, the last PA-RISC chip is the PA-8900 dual-processor, providing up to 15 percent more performance than the PA-8800 chip. HP has made its possible for Superdome server users to run PA-8900 and Intel Itanium 2 processors in the same system to get customers to move to its new Integrity NonStop Line.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company, which is enjoying a server sales rebound after a tough 2004, announced the turn at its annual flagship European event, Ensa@Work HP Enterprise Forum. HP is vying for the top server market share slot with perennial rival IBM.

HP has also brought a unified infrastructure management to its Systems Insight Manager 5.0 software. SIM 5.0 provides fault monitoring, patch management and configuration management for HP'S NonStop, ProLiant, Integrity and HP 9000 systems, as well as its StorageWorks XP, EVA and MSA storage arrays.

Based on the SMI-S protocol, this new unification allows the software to manage servers, storage printers and other devices on a network.

As part of its show news, HP also moved to improve its blade server system portfolio, offering an expanded partner program, HP BladeSystem Solution Builder.

The goal of this program is to accelerate the integration of hardware and software on HP's BladeSystem. HP has garnered support from Brocade, Cisco, McDATA, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat and VMware for this endeavor.

HP also introduced three new thin client models: The HP Compaq t5125, t5520 and t5525 can easily lock data ports and user access from the centralized management console. All three models are available now beginning at $239.