HP Targets the Midrange with New NonStop Server

 
 
By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2006-06-05 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A combination of standard hardware and high-availability software helps drive down costs.

Hewlett-Packard is looking to bring its high-availability platform for the midrange market. The Palo Alto, Calif., company on June 5 is launching the Integrity NonStop NS1000 system, an Itanium 2-based server that offers the same level of reliability as HPs other NonStop systems but at a third of the price. The move one of several moves HP is mulling for the platform.
"This will have higher availability and scalability than any server in the [midrange] marketplace," said Craig Wagner, director of marketing and solutions for the HP NonStop group.
HP is targeting the system—which can come in configurations of two to eight sockets—at emerging markets, such as Russia and China, and smaller businesses in such sectors as financial services, health care and telecommunications that could also benefit from the high-availability capabilities but until now have been priced out of the market, Wagner said. He said the NS1000 beats a comparably equipped z9 mainframe from IBM by about $10,000. Wagner admitted to possible price overlap with its own high-end Integrity systems, such as the Superdome offerings, but said the NonStop systems cater more to customers that run high-availability applications.
Key to HPs ability to bring down the price is its NonStop Value Architecture, which combines standard hardware with NonStop software, Wagner said. They initially will run on Intels single-core "Madison" Itanium processor, but will follow the Itanium roadmap, Wagner said. Intel on June 6 is expected to launch "Montecito," a dual-core processor that includes better energy efficiency and hardware-based virtualization capabilities. Users will be able to put the Montecito technology into the NS1000, Wagner said. In addition, HP is using stock hardware components from the companys Unix server business in the new NonStop server and combining it with its NonStop software, which offers business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities to ensure against hardware failures. The software includes dynamic workload balancing, application virtualization and cluster programming transparency. The NonStop lineup—which started with Tandem and arrived at HP via its acquisition in 2002 of Compaq—is one of several high-end server families that HP is migrating to the Itanium platform. HP introduced the first NonStop running on Itanium last spring. Click here to read more about NonStop systems running on the 64-bit processors from Intel. Most NonStops run on MIPS processors from Silicon Graphics, but—like the PA-RISC and Alpha systems—those are gradually being phased out as HP standardizes its high-end systems on Itanium. HP officials say they are beginning to see some traction for their Itanium systems. In releasing their second-quarter results May 16, they noted that revenues for Itanium systems grew 93 percent over the same period in 2005. Analyst firm IDC, of Framingham, Mass., reported that in the global server market in the first quarter, Itanium-based server revenue grew 41.8 percent. HP officials also have hinted at other changes for the NonStops, including possibly running Linux on them. Currently, the systems run on the HP NonStop Kernel, and include the ServerNet architecture, which brings with it the fault tolerance capabilities. Wagner said the next stop for the NonStop line will be a system targeted specifically for the telecom market, with such features as being NEBS (Network Equipment Building Standard) compliant. In addition, they will be included in HPs plans to move its hardware offerings to a common bladed form factor, he said. A NonStop blade could come in the 2008-09 timeframe, he said. The NS1000 is available immediately. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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