HP Offers Metering for High-End Server

Technology lets enterprises using the company's high-end Superdome server pay only for the processing power they use.

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday unveiled a metering technology that will enable enterprises using the companys high-end Unix-based Superdome server to pay only for the processing power they use.

The technology, delivered through HP Financial Services, is part of HPs On Demand suite of software, designed to give users more flexibility and control over their costs, according to Irv Rothman, president and CEO of HP Financial Services, in Murray Hill, N.J. This is particularly important for enterprises with seasonal needs—for example, retail businesses that might see a spike in power demand during the holiday seasons—or that have an unplanned need for processing power, Rothman said.

"It gives the customer the ability to pay for only what they really use," he said.

The software sits in an HP ProLiant server and monitors the processor use in the 16-way to 64-way Superdome servers, Rothman said. The software can measure the percent utilization of each CPU for each task in the Superdome server.

The aggregate processor utilization data is compiled each week and securely sent to HPs billing engine, which can then turn around and charge the user for the exact amount of processor power used, he said.

Currently the technology is available now only for the Unix-based Superdome server. However, HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., this summer is scheduled to unveil a version of Superdome powered by Intel Corp.s Itanium chips. Rothman said his goal is to be able to offer the automated metering technology for that server as well.

Major OEMs are working to help streamline customers server costs. IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., is offering On/Off Capacity on Demand in its high-end iSeries servers, which can run OS/400, Linux, Unix and Windows. The servers come with extra processors, and enterprises can turn them on or off as needed. The system sends an e-mail report to IBM about the on/off status of the processors, and IBM bills users for usage.

An IBM spokesperson said the On/Off Capacity On Demand feature is not yet available in its Intel-based xSeries servers although the company is expecting to expand its on demand capabilities in its servers. However, IBM does offer the ability to scale up processor capabilities in the servers.

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