At the Supercomputing conference, HP shows off the latest of its double-density blade servers, the ProLiant BL2x220c G6 servers, which pack two Intel Xeon-based blades into the physical space of one. The goal is to help HPC administrators increase the capacity and energy efficiency of their environments while keeping costs down. HP also is introducing the first AMD-based ProLiant SL skinless servers.
is making an effort to address concerns about power and
costs in the high-performance computing space with a host of new hardware and
software offerings, including a blade system that doubles the compute density
in a single rack.
HP's ProLiant BL2x220c G6 puts two two-socket blade servers powered by
Intel's Xeon 5500 Series chips into a single-sized blade compartment that fits
into the company's c-Class chassis. The system also offers 33 percent more
memory capacity than the previous generation.
The BL2x220c G6 follows on the company's first double-packed servers, which
were released earlier in 2009 with previous Xeon models.
"It essentially doubles the compute power you can put in a rack,"
Ed Turkel, manager of business development for HP's Scalable Computing and
Infrastructure Organization, said in an interview.
Turkel also said the power management features in the servers and the
chassis increase the system's performance-per-watt capabilities.
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The BL2x220c G6 was one of a number of products HP is announcing at the
Supercomputing show Nov. 16 in Portland, Ore.,
touching on everything from servers and storage to networking and software.
The offerings are part of HP's ExSO (Extreme Scale-Out) portfolio of
products. HP in June rolled out the ExSO initiative, which aims to help
businesses reduce their data center costs while increasing the capacity of
At the heart of the strategy are the vendor's ProLiant SL servers, modular
systems that offer a "skinless" lightweight rail and tray design,
rather than the traditional chassis and rack form factors. The newer design is designed
to reduce capital, operating and shipping costs, Turkel said.
"We make them extremely power- and cost-efficient by taking out what
[metal] doesn't need to be in there," Turkel said.
In June, HP unveiled three ProLiant SLs powered by Intel processors. Now the
company is unveiling the first one running on six-core Opteron "Istanbul"
chips from Advanced Micro Devices.
The modular design also makes it easier to add capacity to HPC
environments, where administrators are "looking for performance [and]
looking for power efficiency," Turkel said.
The ProLiant SL series also is the basis for HP's new Cluster Platform
3000SL, which HP officials say doubles the density of traditional rack servers
and is more energy-efficient due to features such as shared power and fans.
HP also is pitching its StorageWorks X9000 products-acquired through purchase
of the Ibrix network storage software-to the HPC
field, particularly for large-scale data-intensive jobs. The offerings, based
on the Ibrix software, help businesses virtualize their file storage to create
a single storage pool.
Turkel also said the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute is adopting HP's
blade servers to power its newest supercomputer, named Itasca.
The system will be powered by 1,083 ProLiant BL280 G6 servers, offering 8,664
computing cores. Itasca delivers up to 97 teraflops-or
trillions of floating-point transactions per second-of performance.