Hitachi is adding Intel's newer Itanium chips into its blade lineup.
is looking to beef up its blade offerings
with the latest Intel Itanium
The company announced June 24 that it would add Intel's
9100 series Itanium chips
to its high-end BladeSymphony 1000 systems, as
well as its lower-end BladeSymphony 320 servers.
Additionally, Hitachi will begin
offering the latest dual-core Intel Xeon 5200 series processors along with
Intel's quad-core Xeon 5400 chips with both sets of BladeSymphony systems.
This latest announcement from Hitachi,
which has been trying to break into the North American blade market since 2006,
comes just after Hewlett-Packard announced its Integrity NonStop NB50000c
BladeSystem, which is also based on Itanium processors and is designed for financial,
telecommunications, public sector and high-volume Web 2.0 companies.
The big difference between the two is that while HP
has positioned the NB5000c system
as an alternative for the mainframe, Hitachi
is looking to leverage its legacy mainframe technology, especially
virtualization, to offer an alternative in a crowded field that is full of
systems aimed at data center consolidation projects.
What Hitachi is offering is
called Virtage, an embedded hardware virtualization technology that provides an
abstraction layer that decouples the physical system from the operating system
to provide utilization and additional flexibility. Since the virtualization is
built into the hardware itself, it is more reliable and secure than virtualization
based on a hypervisor, according to Hitachi.
"Hitachi does not seem to
be playing at mainframe poaching," Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT
Research, wrote in an e-mail. "Instead, they're positioning Virtage as a
'mainframe-derived' technology that is more seamless and powerful than
competing virtualization solutions for x86 and Unix platforms."
What Hitachi cannot offer is
market share. In the latest survey by IDC, HP
was first in overall server revenue
with more than $3.7 billion in global
sales, and the company also controlled 46.9 percent of the worldwide $1.2
billion blade market during the first quarter of 2008.
Meanwhile, Hitachi did not finish
in either the top five in the United States
or in the worldwide market, where HP, IBM,
Dell, Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens all dominate.
In addition to the new Itanium and Xeon processors, Hitachi is adding a Web-based console for the BladeSymphony
320 system, which should reduce maintenance and installation time while making
administrative tasks and management easier.