Hitachi Blades Go Virtual

Hitachi is adding virtualization capabilities to its Xeon-based blades for the first time.

Hitachi is looking to add additional virtualization capabilities to its blade servers.

At the 2007 Intel Developer Forum, which starts Sept. 18 in San Francisco, Hitachi will detail its plans to add virtualization capabilities to its BladeSymphony 1000 blade servers that use Intels dual- and quad-core Xeon processors.

Hitachis firmware-embedded virtualization technology, called Virtage, is already included in the companys line of Itanium-based blades, which can also be used in the same chassis as the Xeon blade systems, said Steve Campbell, vice president of marketing for Hitachis North American subsidiary, based in Brisbane, Calif.

These x86 blades with embedded virtualization will become available first in the Japanese market later this year and then in North America in the first quarter of 2008, Campbell said.

Hitachi, which has been working closely with Intel the past several years, has been trying to break into the North American blade market since November 2006, when it first introduced the BladeSymphony 1000, which can use both Itanium and Xeon processors, for enterprise-class data centers.


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In April, the company rolled out the BladeSymphony 320, which was engineered for midmarket companies looking for back-end application support.

Blades are a rapidly growing part of the server market dominated by the likes of Hewlett-Packard and IBM, which together control about 75 percent of the market.

On Sept. 12, HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., rolled out the BladeSystem c3000 enclosure, which is geared for midmarket businesses and enterprises with remote offices.

Sun Microsystems, of Santa Clara, Calif., has also introduced a new set of blades and an enclosure that allows users to mix Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and UltraSPARC processors. Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, is also expected to offer a new blade architecture by the end of the year.

Unlike virtualization, which relies on a hypervisor—the software that makes virtualization possible—Hitachis technology is hardware-based and 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, said Campbell.


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The Virtage technology, he said, is based on the same type of technology the company used when it developed its mainframe systems in the 1960s and 1970s.

The blades also are designed to take advantage of the virtualization technology Intel is building into its processors.


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