Hewlett-Packard is pushing forward its converged infrastructure initiative with a refreshed ProLiant server portfolio powered by the latest Xeon processors from Intel and host of new software products that offer greater manageability, networking capabilities and energy efficiency.
The refresh of the ProLiant G7 server and blade lines incorporates 10 systems-seven blade system and three rack-mount servers-including some powered by Intel's high-end eight-core Xeon 7500 Series "Nehalem EX" chips, which are aimed at servers with four or more sockets.
The announcements made June 21 at the opening of the HP TechForum 2010 show in Las Vegas also includes new HP BladeSystem Matrix software that makes it easier for IT administrators to provision applications on the all-in-one data center system, expanded capabilities in HP's Virtual Connect software, and improved use of power in the data center through a new greater automation and awareness within the network connecting HP servers.
The goal is to further HP's vision of a converged data center, in which silos are broken down, and entire data center resources can be more easily managed, provisioned and deployed.
"The converged infrastructure is fundamentally how we believe the data center infrastructure will be delivered in the future," Gary Thome, vice president of strategy and architecture for HP's Infrastructure Software and Blades group, said in an interview.
HP is not alone in this thinking. IT vendors from Cisco Systems to Dell to IBM, as well as networking vendors like Juniper Networks and Enterasys, are pushing their own strategies around the idea a converged data center infrastructure, which essentially is the tight integration of server, storage, networking, management software and virtualization technologies. All of data center components can then be managed as a single resource.
For HP, the ProLiant servers form a key foundation for the vision, which also includes its Pro Curve networking business-recently augmented by the acquisition of 3Com-its storage business and management software.
HP is bringing the latest Intel Xeon processors into the mix. The company in March rolled out new ProLiants powered by Advanced Micro Devices' new eight- to 12-core Opteron 6000 "Magny-Cours" processors. Now HP is bringing Intel's Xeon 5600 and 7500 chips onto the scene.
HP's rollout comes at the same time that Dell officials are boasting that they have already shipped tens of thousands of servers running the latest AMD and Intel processors. The new servers-both those powered by Intel chips and by the Opteron 6000 series-can offer up to a 200 percent boost in server availability.
The rack-mount servers offer up to 2 terabytes of memory and a 91:1 consolidation ratio. The new ProLiant G7 blades offer up to 1 TB of memory and can support up to four times more virtual machines than similar systems from other vendors, according to HP.
The blades also come with an integrated 10Gb Virtual Connect FlexFabric module that connects to various networks-including Ethernet, Fibre Channel and iSCSI-with one device, rather than many. The blades can support many more virtual machines while requiring much less hardware, Thome said.
HP also is making it easier for enterprises to get their applications deployed on the HP BladeSystem Matrix all-in-one data center offering. The Matrix software integrates more tight with HP Server Automation software, enabling one-touch self-provisioning of applications. Such capabilities can reduce TCO for businesses by as much as 56 percent, according to HP.
"In a matter of moments, I have my applications up and running on my infrastructure," Thome said.
HP also unveiled its Intelligent Power Discovery offering, which is part of HP's Data Center Smart Grid portfolio. Intelligent Power Discovery creates what HP officials are calling an energy-aware network that between ProLiant systems, third-party facility management solutions and data center power grids to give users a real-time look into their data center power use.
"You have a full view of what's going on with [power consumption]," Thome said.
The solution lets businesses better provision energy in the data center, which HP says can save up to $5 million for every 1,000 servers in a year.