Double Density is Key for New HP Blades

Blade servers from HP will pack a little more punch as the systems vendor said it will unveil “double density” machines later this month, adding more CPU and memory into customers’ data centers without taking up more space.

James Mouton, vice president of platforms for HP’s Industry Standard Servers, said the move stems from customer requests to develop blades that focus on power and memory instead of the usual bells and whistles associated with the thin computing platforms.

The executive told the new machines, called ProLiant BL30p, will slide into the same chassis, but the enclosure will sport twice as many blades, which are thin one or two processor individual servers designed to conserve power and space.

The 30p will use only half the space of the current 20p, saving customers 60 percent on floor space compared to a traditional 1U (1.75 inch) server and an 80 percent reduction in cables required, Mouton said.

Meanwhile, blades continue to be a hot sell. HP recently surpassed 100,000 blade server sales since launching the first product in December 2001.

According to recent numbers from research group Gartner, HP reclaimed the lead in total blade server market share with 36 percent to IBM’s 33.7 percent total for the first quarter 2004. Industry confidence in the smaller computing form factor is so high that companies such as NEC are clustering blades on low-cost Linux and Itanium.

“Blades are here, they’re ramping nicely, and we’re seeing some good share gains there,” Mouton said. “We’re expanding the portfolio and in addition to the Intel variance with double density, we’ll be doing some Opteron stuff in the calendar year.”

Mouton declined to elaborate further on the specifics regarding the plans for a blade based on AMD Opteron systems.

However, he said business intelligence software provider WhiteCross Systems recently finished switching from proprietary Sun Microsystems blades to the ProLiant BL20p machines running Red Hat Linux. This helped WhiteCross consolidate its workload from 1,000 systems to less than 300 HP blade systems as the HP blades scanned up to 15 billion rows of data per second
for WhiteCross.

In other blade news, Mouton said a recent performance benchmark test indicated that HP’s Proliant blades helped IBM’s Lotus collaboration software run 37 percent than a similarly configured IBM BladeCenter system.

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