HP Refreshes Superdome, Integrity Servers For Converged Infrastructure

Itanium server infrastructure

HP on Tuesday unveiled its first-ever blade server-based Superdome server, as well as new Integrity blade servers that fit in the same chassis as its existing ProLiant server blades and StorageWorks storage blades.

All the new servers feature the new Intel Itanium 9300 "Tukwila" Itanium quad-core processors, which Intel introduced in February.

The new servers represent the first time business-critical servers have become part of a converged infrastructure, said Lorraine Bartlett, vice president of marketing, strategy, and operations for HP Business Critical Systems.

Converged infrastructure refers to tying server, storage, and IP networking into an integrated system in order to give customers a single-vendor source for building data centers and moving towards cloud computing.

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The common thread between the new servers, in addition to the Intel Itanium 9300 processor, is HP's latest Unix operating system release, HP-UX 11i v3, which was introduced in March.

HP-UX 11i v3 includes the ability to automate the management of server, storage, and networking capabilities in order to grow and shrink virtual resources that are paid for on a pay-per-use model, Bartlett said. It is also the first commercial Unix with Common Criteria security certification, she said.

New this week is the Superdome 2 Integrity server, a complete refresh of HP's Superdome family of mission-critical servers.

The Superdome 2 represents the first time HP has put the server family in a blade form factor, and the first time that it can be mounted in an industry-standard server rack, Bartlett said.

HP has significantly improved the resiliency of the Superdome 2 compared to the current Superdome line by adding fault-tolerant capabilities to its crossbar fabric that interconnects multiple blades' CPU, memory and I/O. This crossbar technology also enables customers to optimize the server's CPUs and I/O independently depending on specific applications, she said.

HP plans to continue offering its existing Superdome servers for at least a year, and has not officially announced end-of-life plans for the older models, Bartlett said.

HP also expanded its Integrity line of blade servers with new 8-socket models, compared to the previous versions which came in 2-socket and 4-socket models. Also new with the Integrity servers is a blade form factor which allows them to fit in the same chassis as the existing ProLiant server and StorageWorks storage blades, making them more a part of a converged infrastructure, Bartlett said.

For customers who want to add HP's business-critical servers to their existing infrastructures without investing in a blade chassis, HP also introduced the Integrity rx2800 i2 rack mount server which features one or two Itanium processors in a 2U form factor.

All existing and new HP servers, from ProLiant to the Integrity to the Superdome lines, are now tied together in a unified blade architecture, Bartlett said.

"We now have a unified blade architecture from ProLiant x86 servers to Integrity to Superdome," she said. "And we have common management across all the platforms. It's very powerful for our customers to be able to simplify their environment for reliability and availability."

Moving the Superdome server line to a blade architecture is a great strategy for HP, even though the impact on solution providers like Nth Generation Computing is limited by relatively slow sales, said Rich Baldwin, CEO of the San Diego-based VAR.

However, Baldwin said, sales of the HP Integrity server line have been going very well, and the line's new architecture is a welcome change.

"This gives everybody the converged infrastructure message which HP has lately been driving," he said. "To me, it's a really good thing. I think it's the right product at the right time."