HP Rolls Out 64-Bit AlphaServer

HP unveils two systems that are part of its program for keeping AlphaServer customers as the company standardizes its high-end 64-bit systems on Itanium.

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Monday will begin shipping a 64-processor system based on its Alpha chip technology and also will unveil an entry-level system as part of its AlphaServer line.

Officials with the Palo Alto, Calif., company said the new systems not only illustrate HPs commitment to the AlphaServer family—which it inherited when it bought Compaq Computer Corp. in May 2002 for about $19 billion—but also to its continued road map for helping AlphaServer users in their eventual migration to HPs line of Itanium-based Integrity systems.

HP is rolling out the 64-way AlphaServer GS1280, a system that is based on the companys Alpha EV7 chip and that follows the launching in July of the 32-processor version of the server. According to HP officials, the 64-way system completes the line of AlphaServers based on the EV7, the first of which were released in January. The servers can run both the HP OpenVMS and Tru64 Unix operating systems.

The single-processor AlphaServer DS15 server will replace the current DS10 system.

Both systems are part of HPs AlphaServer RetainTrust program, designed to keep AlphaServer customers as the company standardizes its high-end 64-bit systems on Intel Corp.s Itanium technology. HP has rolled out a road map in which the company will introduce the last new Alpha chip in 2004 and will stop selling AlphaServers in 2006. The company will end support of the systems in 2011.

Competitors, hoping to capitalize on any disruption the migration to Itanium may cause, have begun targeting AlphaServer users with special enticements. Sun Microsystems Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., in July unveiled its HP Away program, an initiative involving free migration options, trade-in offers, application porting services and special financing offers aimed at luring away AlphaServer users. Sun officials estimated that some 200,000 run about 400,000 AlphaServer systems.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead "Sun Seeks to Lure Alpha Users."

HP is hoping that its AlphaServer RetainTrust keeps those AlphaServer users in the HP fold. The goal of the program is to give these customers the time and the tools to easily make the migration. The new tools include products to ease the planning for porting applications, a transition kit to determine the technical needs for porting and a deployment tool to help make Tru64 applications native to the HP-UX Unix operating system. Upcoming tools include products to ease database migration and to bring legacy applications to the new architecture.

HP officials said the 64-way GS1280 will enable AlphaServer users to get the high-end performance they need immediately while they plan their eventual move to the companys Integrity systems. Other enhancements to HPs line of EV7-based systems include greater memory capacity—doubling the previous capacity to 8GB per central processing unit—an optional high-performance I/O drawer that increases the capacity fourfold over the current standard drawer, and a memory channel interconnect adapter that reduces the cost of running the systems in clusters.

The EV7-based systems also have been upgraded to OpenVMS Version 7.3-2, which offers greater availability, I/O and symmetric multiprocessing performance, and security. It also upgrades Unix portability, management features and storage area network offerings. In addition, the servers offer Tru64 Unix Version 5.1b, which brings with it greater scalability, virtual memory management and storage capabilities.