HP Wields 4-Processor Blade Server

ProLiant BL40p features Intel Xeon MP processors and SAN connectivity.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is aiming to drive blade server technology deeper into the enterprise.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company this week is unveiling a four-processor blade server that features Intel Xeon MP processors and SAN (storage area network) connectivity. The ProLiant BL40p is scheduled for general release in March, with prices starting at $8,999.

At the same time, HP is upgrading its two-processor blade, the ProLiant BL20p, which will feature Xeon chips and SAN connectivity, and its one-way server, the ProLiant BL10e, which will be powered by a 900MHz Pentium III chip. The upgraded BL20p will start at $3,399; the enhanced BL10e at $1,859.

The new four-processor server will round out HPs blade portfolio, said James Mouton, vice president for platforms in the companys Industry Standard Servers unit.

The SAN connectivity will enable businesses to run more of their enterprise applications on blade servers because it will allow enterprises to scale their storage to meet the demand, Mouton said.

"As they get into heavier apps, [the demand for] larger storage becomes pretty common," he said. "SAN connectivity allows for access to larger storage pools."

CenterBeam Inc., an IT outsourcer in Santa Clara, Calif., currently runs much of its architecture on the BL10e servers, though officials said they anticipate bringing in the larger blade servers as they continue to pare down the number of servers they run. Currently, CenterBeam runs many older servers from Dell Computer Corp. and the former Compaq Computer Corp.

"Were looking at consolidating a lot of those larger servers," said Steve Klise, system engineer at CenterBeam.

The company also is excited about the SAN connectivity available in the new servers as a way of reducing CenterBeams reliance on disks.

The new BL40p and enhanced BL20p are expected to be generally available March 11. The upgraded BL10e is available now.