HP Server Taps AMD's 'Barcelona'

 
 
By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-03-17 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

At its European conference, Hewlett-Packard is announcing it will use AMD's quad-core Opteron processor within its ProLiant line.

Hewlett-Packard has picked Spain to talk about AMD's "Barcelona."
At its Technology at Work conference, which starts March 17 in Spain, HP will detail its new ProLiant DL785 G5, the company's first system to support Advanced Micro Devices' quad-core Opteron processors, formerly code-named Barcelona.

The server is one of several announcements that HP will make at its European customer conference. HP is also detailing a new offering of services and tools for the data center called the Data Center Transformation portfolio.

The new eight-socket ProLiant is HP's first offering that will support AMD's quad-core processor following a disclosure from the chip maker in late 2007 that revealed an erratum with its chip. The bug itself was part of Barcelona's translation-lookaside buffer, which caused problems for data being transferred from Level 2 to Level 3 cache. This would then cause the operating system to malfunction and shut the hardware down.

After the disclosure, AMD began shipping new silicon that corrected the problem and HP now stands as the first top-tier OEM to officially announce a system built around the chip, although the other major vendors, such as IBM, Sun Microsystems and Dell, are expected to follow.

"HP's launch basically shows that AMD has made good on its promise to deliver Barcelona B3 [the version of the silicon without the erratum] in the first quarter," John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research, wrote in an e-mail. "The major x86 server makers, including HP, Dell and IBM have been waiting for some time to be able to offer the revision of the quad-core chip."

Paul Miller, vice president of marketing for HP's Enterprise Storage and Servers business, said the company was satisfied with the changes AMD has made and the new ProLiant server will allow the company to compete in the multisocket system space. Miller said HP has not produced a new eight-socket system in several years and the DL785 allows the company to offer a robust system with enough processing power and memory to handle large workloads as well as making it a platform for virtualization.

"What we wanted to do with an eight-socket system is offer a server that had a balance of supporting a lot of I/O and memory along with the management infrastructure needed in the MP [multiprocessor], x86 space," he said.

Within the eight-socket server space, HP is looking to compete against systems such as the Sun Fire X4600 from Sun. This server can scale from two to eight sockets and currently offers AMD's dual-core processors, but it is also designed to support the quad-core version of Opteron as well, according to the company's Web site.

The ProLiant DL785 uses AMD's Opteron 8354 processor, which has a clock speed of 2.2GHz and 2MB of L3 cache, and offers up 64DIMM (dual in-line memory modules) slots that can support up to 256GB of DDR2 (double-data rate 2) RAM. The system also can support up to 16 SAS (serial-attached SCSI) drives, each with a 146GB capacity and 11 PCI Express slots.

HP is supporting Microsoft Windows, Linux and Sun Microsystems' Solaris operating system with the ProLiant. It also supports VMware and Xen-based virtualization software.

The ProLiant DL785 will begin shipping to customers within a month at a starting price of $17,000, according to HP.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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