HP Shares PC Resources Via Blades

HP tools enable enterprises to virtualize utility computing resources.

In a move to further its utility computing initiative, Hewlett-Packard Co. is rolling out a series of products equipped with virtualization capabilities.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company is joining the growing list of vendors offering PC blades with the announcement late last week of its Consolidated Client Infrastructure. The technology will enable customers to use a traditional PC or thin client on the desktop but tie the boxes to PC blades hosted in a rack in the data center via standard Ethernet connectivity. Those blades will house the crucial data and applications that currently reside on the PCs themselves.

Consolidated Client Infrastructure enables what Mark Hudson, vice president of HPs enterprise servers and storage, calls "integrated virtualization" by uniting multiple resources, such as servers, desktops and storage. "With virtualization, the approach is to pool together and share resources to increase utilization and meet the demand" put on the IT infrastructure by a customers business needs, Hudson said.

HPs not alone. The company is following ClearCube Technology Inc.s lead with PC blades.

And last week, Wyse Technology Inc. said it plans to extend its thin-client platform through an alliance with chip maker Transmeta Corp. Wyse officials, in San Jose, Calif., said that could include a PC blade offering.

Virtualization reality

HPs new virtualization offerings enable utility computing:

  • Consolidated Client Infrastructure Provides a PC blade platform where applications and data are stored on central compute blades
  • Serviceguard clustering software Expands Linux support; enables virtualization of IT resources between data centers
  • Capacity on Demand Available in ProLiant blade servers

HPs PC blades, which will be available in March, will be powered by Transmetas new Efficeon chips running at more than 1GHz, HP officials said.

VW Credit, the financing arm of Volkswagen of America Inc., is testing HPs PC blade technology with the goal of easing the management of desktops in nine regional offices. In a server-based architecture, where the data is stored in a central location, PCs wont have to be moved when employees move, and hardware problems will simply require swapping in a new box, said CIO Jack Klosterman. "It will certainly change life as we know it," said Klosterman, in Libertyville, Ill. "We see a lot of benefits behind it. If we prove them out, this will make a lot of sense going forward."

In another step to enable customers to share resources, HP announced the broadening of its pay-per-use billing offering to include its 64-bit Itanium-based Integrity servers—the Superdome, rx8620 and rx7620 systems—and its imaging and printing products. The move enables users to pay only for the resources used.

The new HP-UX Workload Manager software will let IT administrators shift resources such as processing power and memory among virtual partitions in a single server.