HP Adds Quad-core Itanium To Integrity NonStop Blade Servers

HP's new Integrity NonStop BladeSystem NB54000c now features a quad-core Itanium version offering twice the performance of the previous dual-core model, which remains in production, said Bob Kossler, director of strategy and planning for HP's NonStop division.

The HP Integrity NonStop server family targets enterprise workloads which require zero application downtime and extreme scalability, Kossler said. While the market for the NonStop server line is considerably smaller than that of HP's x86-based server line, it continues to be an important one for the company, he said.

"There are new applications being developed for NonStop, and new ISVs are developing apps for it," he said. "It's very relevant in financial, mobile telecom, healthcare, and public sectors. Anywhere availability is an issue, you tend to find NonStop equipment."

HP first started offering its NonStop server line in a blade server format in 2008. Currently, blade servers account for over 50 percent of total NonStop server revenue, a number that has been increasing, Kossler said.

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Even so, the overall market for high-end servers based on Intel Itanium and RISC processors is falling. Analyst firm Gartner in February said that 2010 Itanium and RISC server shipments fell by nearly 17 percent compared to 2009, while revenue from those servers fell nearly 12 percent during that same time period.

Unlike HP's x86-based blade servers, which allows mixing and matching of different types of ProLiant blades in a chassis, the Integrity NonStop line requires customers use a separate chassis for dual-core and quad-core NonStop blade servers, Kossler said.

"Because of the way NonStop systems are developed, when failover happens after a blade is lost, there are load-balancing issues if the failover happens from a quad-core to a dual-core blade," he said.

An entry-level Integrity NonStop system consisting of two quad-core blade servers plus related storage and software is list priced between $100,000 and $200,000, Kossler said. The new blades are currently available.