HP Blades The Workstation

HP is laying claim to an industry first – a workstation in a blade
format.

The HP ProLiant Blade Workstation Solution is designed to give the same
benefits as other so-called thin client systems, namely that it moves the
processing and storage components off the desktop and into the data center.
Users can access files and applications from a thin client device or
Microsoft Windows-based workstations, PCs and notebooks.

HP said the new blade is aimed
at financial trading, public sector, and manufacturing industries beyond traditional workstation markets such as CAD/CAM or engineering. “This solution isn’t for everyone. We have a strong core workstation business we’re not trying to replace,” Dan Nordhues, director of product marketing for blade workstations at HP, told internetnews.com.

Also, customers can expect to pay a premium over more traditional
workstations. Nordues said the added cost comes from the rack enclosure and
related infrastructure costs. The HP Blade Workstation starts at a list
price of $6,400 in single quantities or, in volume, $4,900 for blade,
support and blade infrastructure costs. The thin client hardware ranges
from $650 to $850 or $450 to $650 in volume plus $100 for Receiver software.

Analyst Rob Enderle said in the markets HP is going after, the extra cost
shouldn’t be a barrier.

“Trading floors are very motivated to get the heat and complexity of
their systems lowered,” Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group,
told internetnews.com. “Some of these traders have as many as six
workstations each and that generates a lot of heat. And if one of them goes
down, they have to send a tech out to look at it, whereas a blade solution
is centrally managed.”

And Enderle agrees with HP’s decision not to focus on traditional
engineering markets. “The average engineer wants to plug stuff in, this is
not very flexible solution in that sense.”

The AMD 2.6 Ghz Opteron-based blade also includes a high end nVidia
graphics chip and HP-developed Remote software for communicating with the
thin client. “We can do 2- and 3-D graphics and animation unlike any other
remote paradigm out there today,” said Nordues. “The customer doesn’t have
to give up the workstation experience they’ve come to expect.”

Although today is the official launch, HP has been testing the blade
solution with customers for several months.

London-based Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets recently customized its
255-postion trading floor with 280 HP ProLiant xw25p Blade Workstations. The
devices are used by traders in the foreign exchange, derivatives, and global
commodities markets, as well as by sales traders in the derivatives and
interest rate trading markets.

“We were looking for something that was going to give a market edge to
our traders, and for us, the HP Blade Workstation delivered on that,” said
Colin Everett, head of IT strategy and infrastructure, Financial Markets,
Lloyds TSB.

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