Cooling Advances, Partners Help HP Pass IBM In Blades

That's the message Chuck Smith, HP's vice president, enterprise storage and servers, TSG Americas, delivered to solution providers at CMP's Solution Provider XChange in San Diego.

Smith told solution providers that HP passed IBM during the fourth quarter in blade servers both in the Americas and worldwide. He noted that HP blade revenues for its fiscal year ended Jan. 31 grew about 45 percent year-over-year. One reason for the gain is HP's cooling technology used in its c-Class blades introduced last year.

"New technology in the c-Class blades focuses on power and cooling and manageability," he said. He noted, too, that HP's strategy is to blade everything, including storage, Integrity and x86 servers, and put them all in one box. Smith noted that new cooling technology is key because about 65 percent of the power used in a data center is spent on cooling.

In comparing a 16-slot 1U HP blade server to a comparable Dell server system, HP uses 36 percent less power, is 60 percent cooler and is 35 percent quieter, he said. "And the HP system uses 25 percent less power than an IBM blade system," he added.

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In an interview following his keynote, Smith said that one secret to HP's blade-cooling technology is the propeller design for the cooling fans. In seeking out a better cooling technology for fans, HP tracked down the leading model airplane designer in a small Texas town and used his expertise in designing propellers to create new fans for HP blades.

"We now have 20 or 30 patents on the design. It's quieter and moves more air," he said.

Smith also noted that HP's reliance on partners to drive blades server and storage sales into midmarket accounts helped HP snare the lead in blades. "Channel partners are a key differentiator and a competitive advantage," he said.

Smith noted that HP is training solution provider salespeople and product specialists alongside HP's TSG sales force.

"Last week we had 500 people from the partner community at our regional sales symposium to get the same training our own customer reps get," he said. "At the end of April, I'm funding 700 commercial and enterprise channel product sales specialists to be trained in the same way my products specialists will be trained."

HP's channel push seems to resonate with solution providers. William Adams, vice president of ACS Services, a solution provider in Eaton, Mass., said his company is in the process of switching all of its system purchases from Dell, Lenovo and other vendors to HP.

"I'm so sick of Dell that I want to kill them," he said, adding that aggregating all of his product purchases with a single vendor will gain more visibility and clout with the manufacturer.

Amy O'Neill, director of vendor relations at GreenPages, a Kittery, Maine, solution provider, told Smith that HP is red hot. "Of our five leading vendors, you have become by far the largest," she said.