HP Fills out Integrity, ProLiant Server Lines

HP filled holes in its new Integrity and ProLiant Itanium 2 server lines Monday, adding 8-way and 16-way midrange servers and a 4-way high density machine to the former line and new small-and medium-sized business (SMB) servers to the latter.

The Integrity series now ranges from low end 2-way systems to the high performance 64-way Itanium Superdome machines, said Vish Mulchand, director of server marketing, Business Critical Systems at HP. Joining the rx2600 and the rx4600, which were announced this past June, are the Integrity rx7620 8-way and rx8620 16-way midrange servers and rx4640 machine, all of which run the Itanium 2 1.5 GHz chip.

Mulchand said Palo, Alto, Calif.’s Integrity line now has more than enough firepower to compete for the lion’s share of the market versus IBM’s pSeries Unix server line and Sun Microsystems’ Sun Fire Unix servers. Though HP has been widely figured to be the global Intel server leader since it acquired Compaq’s broad server assets two years ago, the company wants to continue to gobble more Unix market share, where it competes with chief rivals IBM and Sun.

One of its chief differentiators, HP says, is that the Integrity line is the only server family that can run the proprietary Unix operating system, HP-UX 11i, Linux and Microsoft Windows Server 2003. OpenVMS is expected to be available on Integrity products in 2004.

HP is also universally acknowledged as the lead purveyor of Intel’s Intanium chip-based servers as rivals were initially reticent to get on board. Mulchand said the fact that HP has already met its goal of getting software vendor to port at least 1,000 applications available for HP-UX, Linux, and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 on Integrity is an indication of how folks are taking an interest in its young line. Hundreds of OpenVMS applications are expected by mid-2004.

Gartner this week released preliminary third quarter server statistics, finding that HP sold 408,000 units for 3Q, leading the race. HP garnered 26.6 percent of total U.S. server shipments. HP’s shipments increased 21 percent compared to the year earlier, according to Gartner.

HP also posted sequential (7.8 percent) and year-over-year growth (21.6 percent) for unit shipments of x86 servers worldwide. With the additions to the ProLiant line, HP has aimed for the heart of the SMB market, which James Mouton, vice president of Industry-Standard Systems at HP, said is an area of high demand with the potential for tremendous growth — so much so that rivals IBM, Sun and several other niche players have been taking notice in the last few months.

“It’s a very ripe market,” Mouton said. “And not just in the type of mom-and-pop dentist office SMB, but it’s being used to buy trade, especially in China and Russia. Moreover, Mouton said SMB customers are not just asking for simple 1 to 2 processor machines, but those capable of completing high-performance computing tasks, which vendors traditionally include in high-end servers. Vendors have been more than happy to supply in their push to grab up market share.

The new ProLiant 100 server series for general-purpose workloads address SMBs and HPC. The ProLiant DL140 server is geared for grid computing and HPC clusters while the new HP XC3000 and XC6000 Linux clusters are designed for HPC. These new products effectively bookend the midrange ProLiant 300, 500 and 700 series machines.

Mouton said the ProLiant 100 series is designed with simplicity in mind, and they employ OS management tools to make life easier for administrators and help customers focus on their business instead of the infrastructure in their data centers. The HP ProLiant DL140 server, which starts at $1,299, features floating point performance and cluster scalability, making it ideal for grid computing.

Jeff Carlat, HP group manager of platform product marketing, said the interesting element of HP’s SMB strategy is that it no longer takes enterprise-class products and stretch them down to fit the SMB market.

“The ProLiant 100 Series has been optimized for the SMB market,” Carlat said. “In reality, SMBs need enterprise-like server capabilities. The ProLiant 100 Series has been right-sized with the features, support services and financing that makes simple and affordable for SMBs to deploy.”

Running Linux, the new clusters are targeted for scientific and engineering technical computing needs and join a cadre of offerings from IBM, Sun Dell and SGI. The HP XC6000 Cluster is based on the Integrity rx2600 systems and the HP Cluster XC3000 is based on ProLiant servers. Each system is available with up to 512-processors.

To sport HPC clusters, HP has formed the HP Collaboration and Competency Network to make sure HPC technology and standards are in lockstep.

Adapted from Internetnews.com.

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