HP Offers Four-Socket Itanium Blade

The company is expanding its lineup of Integrity systems with a new blade and an eye toward midmarket companies.

Hewlett-Packard, which currently leads the blade market in unit shipments, is offering a new, four socket blade system based on the latest Itanium chips from Intel.

The BL870c blade adds to HP's Integrity line, which uses the Itanium processor that the company began developing with Intel in the 1990s. The new system, announced Feb. 12, works with HP's c7000 enclosure for enterprises and its c3000 - or "Shorty" - enclosure designed for midmarket businesses.

In an increasingly competitive blade market - Dell revamped its blade architecture in January - HP continues to lead the pack. According to IDC's last survey of the market, HP accounted for 44 percent of all blade shipments in the third quarter of 2007 and claimed 42 percent of the revenue.

Since the start of this year, HP has also been focusing on midmarket customers as a way to grow its revenues, especially in the blade market. This is one reason why the new Integrity blade is compatible with the c3000 enclosure, which HP announced in 2007 as a complement for midmarket companies interested in blade platforms, said Lorraine Bartlett, director of marketing for HP's Business Critical Systems.

"This is a way for businesses to run their mission critical applications in a high-availability environment," Bartlett said. "That's why we continue to have an interest in our Integrity line and the reason why we wanted to marry those abilities with our blade architecture."

As HP did when it launched the c3000 enclosure in 2007, the company is offering what it calls Solution Blocks, which provide blueprints for accelerating the deployment of different applications with the new blade. These include ERP (enterprise resource planning) software from Oracle and SAP, SOA (service-oriented architecture) from BEA Systems, and product lifecycle management from Siemens and IBM's WebSphere.

In addition to supporting up to four of Intel's 9100 series Itanium chips, the new blade offers up to 96GB of RAM and up to four SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) hard disk drives for up to 146GB of capacity.

The BL870c also supports a number of different operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, OpenVMS, Linux and HP-UX, HP's Unix variant.

Since the new Integrity blades work with both enclosures, Bartlett said users can mix and match the Itanium blades with HP's standard x86-based ProLiant blades in the same chassis. The new BL870c, which starts at $8,000, is now available.