launched its new 4-way ProLiant
DL585 server (USD$8,299) Monday, the first server system based on AMD’s Opteron processor since HP agreed to
chips on its systems.
HP also announced its new LC 3000 series based on the ProLiant DL145 server (USD$67,829). The company said its latest high performance computing (HPC) and clustering package is designed as an easy, pre-formatted system.
The company is working on an Opteron-based blade server
And therein lies a conundrum for HP, a staunch supporter of the biggest pillars of Intel
chips (Pentium, Xeon, Itanium). Until recently, the company never had the problem of showing a second set of servers that, according to recent benchmark studies, are out performing its original configurations.
“Some customers report a 40 percent improvement over similar systems running Xeon — but that would have to be the poster child application that was tweaked for the chip such as online gaming customers and HPC customers,” Steve Cumings, HP group manager for Opteron systems, told internetnews.com.
While Cumings said the vast majority of its volume comes from Xeon-based
systems, AMD is moving fast — even when benchmarked for enterprise
applications from companies like SAP
. HP said its ProLiant DL585 recently earned the top Microsoft
Windows Exchange Server 2003 Performance and Scalability Benchmark result
for four-processor servers, using the new MMB3 benchmark. The server
supported 7,800 MMB3 (or users), which is more than a eight percent increase
in users over the previously published record. The server also gave a nine
percent boost to SAP software in similar benchmark testing.
“What we are seeing is that it is better than any other 4-way x86 out
there,” Cumings said. “This is not to say that Opteron will shadow all of
our Xeon servers. We will introduce a sister version of the ProLiant where
it makes sense to bring out specific attributes of both processors.”
Side by side, the Opteron-powered ProLiant DL585 is also less expensive
with its 2 processor top-bin selling for USD$11,999. That system would
include the Opteron 848 series running at 2.2 GHz with 2GB base memory, and
Compare that to the Xeon MP-based ProLiant DL580. That 2 processor
top-bin sku tops out at 3 GHz with a 4 meg cache, and 2GB base memory, also
with no drives but retailing for $15,798.
And Intel’s opportunity to match Opteron in the 64-bit processing space
won’t come for at least a few months as the No. 1 chipmaker is expected to
debut its “Nocona” Xeon processors later this year. AMD, meanwhile, is
celebrating its first anniversary of Opteron this week.
HP has its own fish to fry. IDC’s February stats show HP as the leader in
the x86 space with 32.6 percent total units shipped worldwide. But the
company is experiencing increased pressure from rivals like IBM
and Sun Microsystems
who are also offering
pre-configured HPC, Linux systems running on Opteron. To counter its rivals,
HP said its LC 3000 series comes in 50, 150, 1,000 server nodes for server farms, colleges, brokerage houses and other financial businesses.
The LC 3000 series, which is an Opteron-based system, follows two
Xeon-based ones offered by HP: the LC 1000 Series, based on HP ProLiant
DL140 and the LC 2000 Series, based on HP ProLiant DL360 servers.
“Applications that are compute intensive and run well on clusters of
IA-32-based systems, such as many CFD applications, will also see advantages
with Opteron clusters,” the company said in a statement.
The LC Series is comprised of certified partner and application solution
stacks as well as freeware and Open Source offerings. HP supports a range
of HPC solutions provided by independent software vendors, including Altair
Engineering, Axceleron, Cyclades, Engineered Intelligence, Meiosys, Platform
Computing, Red Hat, Scali, Sistina, and United Devices.