The two-way Integrity BL60p will broaden HPs BladeSystem offerings, which currently run on Xeon chips from Intel and Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. It also grows the operating system support, which now covers Microsoft Corp.s Windows and Linux.
"This will add to the depth of our environment," said Mark Potter, vice president of HPs BladeSystem business.
The new system will bring the cost and performance advantages of blade systems to the Unix space, Potter said. Like all of HPs servers, storage boxes and networking devices, it will be managed by the vendors Systems Insight Manager, and users will be able to run it side-by-side with HPs x86 blades. The BL60p also can support Linux and Windows.
It also will be able to take advantage of the sub-CPU partitioning offered it other Itanium-based Integrity systems. Users will be able to partition the BL60p to enable it to run up to six separate instances of HP-UX 11i v2.
"[Customers] really want to standardize on the BladeSystem in their infrastructure," Potter said. "Now they can."
The new blade server will first run on the single-core "Madison" Itanium 2 chip—with speeds of up to 1.6GHz and 3MB of cache—but will adopt the dual-core "Montecito" when it is released by Intel in the middle of next year. Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., initially intended to release Montecito in the first quarter but last month announced it was pushing back the release date due to quality issues.
HP is not the first OEM to run Itanium-based blades. Both NEC Solutions America Inc. and Hitachi Ltd. offer blades with the chip.
For its part, IBM also offers a blade for Unix customers, the BladeCenter JS20, which runs on its PowerPC 970 processor.