HP Expands NonStop Portfolio With Itanium Server for SMBs

HP's new NS2100 system comes two weeks after a judge ordered Oracle to continue to build versions of its software for Intel's Itanium platform.

Hewlett-Packard, fresh off its win in court over rival Oracle in the dispute about Intel's Itanium processor platform, is expanding its line of Itanium-based NonStop servers with a new system aimed at smaller companies and emerging markets.

HP officials last week unveiled their Integrity NonStop NS2100 server, the latest in the family of fault-tolerant systems that most often are found in the data centers of large enterprises. However, the NS2100 is aimed at small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in such industries as financial services, manufacturing, health care and telecommunications that handle high-transaction workloads.

The new system gives these SMBs that same high availability that larger NonStop servers offer enterprises, but at a more affordable price point, starting at $75,000.

"While it is not a general-purpose replacement for all workloads or industries, the NS2100 allows customers to invest in a fully fault-tolerant solution that is 100 percent NonStop to accommodate their workloads, at a lower price point," Randy Meyer, director of product management, strategy and technology for HP's NonStop Enterprise Division, said in an Aug. 15 post on HP's Mission Critical Computing Blog.

The new system was announced two weeks after a California court ordered rival Oracle to continue developing its enterprise software for Intel's Itanium platform. Executives with the giant software maker last year announced that they would no longer support the Itanium technology, claiming that Intel engineers told them that Intel intended to end development of Itanium in favor of its x86-based Xeon chips. Both Intel and HP disputed the claim, with HP accusing Oracle of trying to force HP server users to migrate to Oracle's own SPARC/Solaris platform, which the software company inherited when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2010.

HP is by far the largest user of Itanium chips, having standardized its high-end systems-including NonStop and Integrity servers-on the controversial platform. HP, which said it shared about 140,000 customers with Oracle, sued the software company, claiming the decision to no longer support Itanium violated an agreement between the two companies. Oracle argued there was no such agreement, but Judge James P. Kleinberg of the Santa Clara County Superior Court disagreed in his ruling Aug. 1. With that ruling, the trial now enters the penalty phase, where a jury will decide how much Oracle owes HP. Oracle officials said they would appeal Kleinberg's decision.

HP executives had blamed slumping sales in its Business Critical Systems group in part on the uncertainty caused by Oracle's announcement. Now HP appears to be looking to regain some momentum in the wake of Kleinberg's ruling.

The NS2100 is powered by Intel's Itanium 9300 Series processors, and offers tight hardware and software integration that makes it easy for SMBs to install and deploy, according to Meyer.

"The NS2100 is a flexible platform for heterogeneous environments, with a full choice of application architectures as well as management tools and complete application compatibility with all other NonStop servers," he wrote. "While the NS2100 is an entry-class server, it benefits from unique platform attributes, such as lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), a real-time database, an integrated stack, end-to-end security and massive scalability within the HP NonStop portfolio. In other words, it is still 100 percent NonStop."