HP Launches New, Smaller-Size ProLiant 'Scale-Out' Servers

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-06-10 Print this article Print

The ProLiant SL6000 product line includes a smaller, physically lightweight, power-draw-efficient modular systems architecture -- the first major rebuild of the ProLiant server since 2001. They can be deployed with up to 672 processor cores and 10 terabytes of storage capacity per standard 42U rack.

Hewlett-Packard on June 10 launched a new line of ProLiant servers, called the ProLiant SL Extreme Scale-Out portfolio, engineered specifically for the growing Web 2.0, financial services and high-performance computing markets.

"Scale-out" is a relatively recent data center industry buzzword referring to architectures for systems running thousands of servers that are required to scale nearly ad infinitum in order to comfortably handle a massive number of online users. Amazon, Facebook, eBay and Google are Web 2.0 companies specializing in both the deployment and the optimization of scale-out architecture.

The ProLiant SL6000 product line -- which HP is also calling ExSO -- includes a smaller, physically lightweight, power-draw-efficient modular systems architecture -- the first major rebuild of the ProLiant server since 2001, John Gromala, director of product marketing for HP's industry-standard server group, told eWEEK.

They are also powerful. These new servers can be deployed with up to 672 processor cores and 10 terabytes of storage capacity per standard 42U rack, HP said. Like all HP data center products, the ProLiant SLs are built on industry standards, so they are designed to work in a mix-and-match, storage-and-computing data center environment.

"This is a high-level launch, purpose-built for extreme-scale users with 1,000-plus [data center] nodes," Gromala said.

"We're talking about a cross-section of high-performance computing in Web 2.0 companies, scientific modeling, financials, and health care -- and at a second level, gaming. To a certain extent, this is almost like comparing a restaurant versus your home kitchen. What occurs in those two places is very different; your home is like a small business, the restaurant is an enterprise."

The ProLiant SLs use a new, smaller-size architecture that replaces the traditional chassis- and rack-form factors with a lightweight rail-and-tray design. They utilize new, cooler-running Intel quad-core processors.

The servers, which slide into place on a regular-width (19-inch) rack, are physically smaller and lighter -- about two-thirds the weight of a regular ProLiant server -- and take up less room and are cooler-running than previous models.

"The HP ProLiant SL offers pioneering customers the most significant design innovation since the blade form factor," said Christine Reischl, HP's senior vice president and general manager, Industry Standard Servers.

The ProLiant SL servers use less power form the wall due to a consolidated power/cooling infrastructure and unique air flow design; the savings has been estimated at about 28 percent less power per server than standard rack-based servers, Gromala said.

The new servers are designed to work in modular configurations to enable fast installation and deployment through hot-swappable "compute trays."

"[Extreme-scale] customers have very distinct and unique data center requirements, specifically around energy efficiency, cost and time to market," Michelle Bailey, research vice president at IDC, said.

"The introduction of the ExSO portfolio specifically addresses customer requirements for optimizing capitol expenditures while lowering ongoing operating costs. As a result, these solutions are helping to redefine data center economics."

HP also announced new data center control software, called Datacenter Environmental Edge, that provides visual mapping of environmental variables, so administrators can identify and take action on data center issues.

Environmental Edge uses a system of wireless sensors placed throughout a data center to monitor a variety of variables, including temperature, humidity, air pressure and power utilization. The system provides real-time visualization of environmental variables so administrators can perform root cause analysis.

HP's existing scale-out computing portfolio includes the ProLiant DL1000 Multi Node servers, introduced on June 2; the HP POD (Performance Optimized Datacenter), HP StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage System and the HP ProLiant 2x220c double-density blade server introduced last year.

More information on the ProLiant SL and accompanying software and services is available here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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