RealTime IT News

Big Iron For The Little Guy?

HP's solution for big companies that need rock solid reliability in a server has been its NonStop Integrity line.

Call it big iron for a big iron budget. But that's about to change, HP hopes.

Seeing an opportunity to offer those same "business continuity" features to mid-range companies and institutions, HP  today unveiled the newest and lowest cost member of the Integrity NonStop line, the NS1000.

Potential customers include healthcare, financial services and telecommunications firms that need real-time, around-the-clock access to their business applications.

HP said it leveraged research and development of the higher end members of the NonStop line to offer a more affordable solution for midrange companies. Other potential customers include companies in emerging markets in Russia, China and elsewhere, which, for the most part, couldn't afford to consider a NonStop system costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"The NS1000 Server breaks through the glass floor of the glass house to the mid-market which we see as an emerging opportunity," Craig Wagner, a director of marketing and solutions at HP' NonStop Enterprise division, told internetnews.com. "There are no competitive systems that can deliver the same level of five 9's, (99.999 percent) of availability."

Like other members of the NonStop family, the NS1000 is based on Intel's Itanium 2 processor and is priced starting at $85,000 per processor, about 10 percent less than IBM's competing System Z9. HP claims a further advantage in offering a more complete software stack with its system for the base price which includes middleware, operating system and database.

"It's all the software you need to get started and running," said Wagner.

HP is also working with partners to scale down some of their high end applications to a level more appropriate to mid-tier customers. Wagner said HP's market research indicates an opportunity to sell the NS1000 to places like Turkey, Russia, and sub-Saharan Africa as a cheaper way to do transactional processing.

Given those countries and many mid-tier companies in the U.S. don't have extensive IT staff, the NS1000 has been architected with a number of automation features. "It's extremely efficient to operate," said Wagner. "You don't need a core of database administrators, probably only one third the number of IT staff [a larger system would require] and one fifth the number of DBAs" (database administrators).

The NS1000 runs on a 1.3GHz Itanium 2 with 3MB cache. Configurations with 2 to eight processors and four and eight gigabytes of memory are available. The system can connect to up to 32 TB of disk storage per system using internal disks.

Intel is expected to unveil the long-delayed "Montecito" version of Itanium this month. But HP isn't waiting with the NS1000 which is upgradeable to Montecito.

"We'll lag the introduction of Montecito by design," said Wagner. "We don't need to be on the bleeding edge, the customers we see for this are kind of conservative."