RealTime IT News

HP Unveils New Blade, Cloud Computing Strategy

HP today announced a new cloud computing initiative designed to assist in building your own mini-cloud of a datacenter, complete with products and services for building out the center, not just delivering hardware.

As part of the initiative, the company is also introducing the first of what it promises will be many blade servers as it goes for a "blades everywhere" strategy. HP (NYSE: HPQ) is enjoying great success, and IDC just reported that blade sales overall rose 53 percent in the past year, so it's easy to see why.

"If you look at all of the innovations they've done in the server realm, almost all it has been in blades," noted James Staten, senior analyst with Forrester Research. "Everyone is investing heavily in blades because it's more efficient and because of their proprietary design."

Blades are easier to cool because they are tilted vertically and the heat is easier to dissipate (that's the same reason most desktop PC cases are towers). It's also very hard to switch companies when you use blades, Staten noted. They all use a different chassis, so you can't use another vendor's blades in your chassis.

"It's the value proposition," Jim Ganthier, HP's director of ESS blade marketing told InternetNews.com of the popularity of blades. "Ultimately, people are realizing when you move to a bladed environment, you get the overall TCO aspects of ease of use and simplicity and operational aspects."

He said due to the way they are stacked, more can be placed in a rack than rack mounted systems, 16 blades vs. 10 rack-mounted computers, he said.

HP's newest blade is the ProLiant BL2x220c G5, which works in both the high-end c7000 and SMB-friendly c3000 HP chassis. The c7000 can hold 32 G5 blades while the c3000 can hold 16.

The blade is designed to hold a total of four Intel Xeon 5400 quad core processors, laid out in such a way as to prevent overheating. "It's totally different from others blades in that it's double dense," said Ganthier. "You get double the compute power and not have to double the power draw."

The G5 will be part of HP's renewed datacenter cloud computing push, to give customers a cloud computing effort in their own enterprise. There are three areas being targeted by the company: enterprise high performance computing (HPC), Web 2.0/social networks and expanding datacenters for massive scaleout.

HP's EYP group – a datacenter power and cooling specialist it acquired last year – has more than 30 million feet of datacenter design and will play a roll in helping customers design their datacenter for maximum efficiency. It's a more holistic approach than before, where HP delivered the computer and someone else did the setup and design of the datacenter.

"You can't just say 'I have a product that works for you'," said Ganthier. "You have to have a conversation that says we will help you design the operations for them, the power and cooling issues, the applications."

Staten said HP's plans will be a kind of mass market high performance computing service, but that kind of offering needs a lot of support. "They already provide their equipment to Web services companies that are building cloud computing platforms," he said. "Now they are providing datacenter designs and layouts and power needs."

The HP ProLiant BL2x220c G5 blade is available now at a starting price of $6,349.