HP Enhances HP-UX, Rolls Out New NonStop Servers

The offerings are part of HP's Project Odyssey, an effort to give enterprises a choice of Itanium- or x86-based systems for high-end workloads.

Hewlett-Packard officials are introducing enhancements to the company's HP-UX operating system and new Itanium-based NonStop servers aimed at midrange enterprises, part of the giant tech vendor's larger Project Odyssey effort.

HP also on April 28 is unveiling enhancements to its Integrity-based CloudSystem Matrix with HP-UX, a converged offering designed for private clouds and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environments that run mission-critical workloads.

The same trends—from cloud computing to big data to greater mobility—that are driving the growing demands for better energy efficiency, smaller footprints and lower costs also being felt by large organizations that run mission-critical workloads on systems like HP's Integrity and NonStop servers, which are powered by Intel's Itanium processors, according to HP officials.

Despite the continued decline in the global Unix server space, company executives see a strong role for their high-end systems in the changing server landscape, where the ability to handle the rapidly growing amount of data that's being generated and to be always-on are key.

"Enterprises everywhere are required to handle significant data volume while providing customers continuous access and availability to their mission-critical workloads," Ric Lewis, vice president and general manager of HP's Enterprise Servers Business, said in a statement. "The latest enhancements to our HP Integrity solutions demonstrate HP’s commitment to provide customers with purpose-built, highly-available infrastructure capabilities for their most critical applications."

The enhancements to the HP-UX 11i v3 operating system will enable organizations to upgrade virtualized applications between Integrity i2 and i4 servers with no downtime, virtualize larger workloads that double the capacity of virtual machines, offer up to 32 processing cores and 256 GB of memory, leverage HP's Soft Reboot technology on Integrity i4 server blades to cut reboot times in half, and reconfigure virtualized I/O without any downtime.

The upgrades to CloudSystem Matrix with HP-UX include the ability to deploy larger private clouds by having workloads run vPars v6 partitioning technology or through direct I/O networking. In addition, HP is offering the solution with two-socket licensing, which will lower the cost of private clouds based on HP-UX, and with the ability to identify inefficient servers processes, which will increase data center processing capacity and enabling more resources for mission-critical workloads.

HP also is rolling out two new NonStop servers for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). Both the NonStop NS2300 and NS2400 fault-tolerant systems are powered by Intel's Itanium 9500 chips, which were launched in 2012, which HP officials said will bring a 50 percent increase in the main memory capacity, which will enable organizations to run more workloads than on previous systems.

The new NonStop servers and enhancements to HP-UX 11i v3 and CloudSystem Matrix for HP-UX are available now.

HP's new offerings come at a time when the Unix server market continues to shrink, with more high-end workloads running on x86-based systems. IDC analysts found that in the fourth quarter 2013, Unix server revenues fell 20.2 percent over the same period in 2012. The $1.9 billion in revenues accounted for 13.6 percent of all server revenues for the quarter.

HP officials two years ago kicked off Project Odyssey, an initiative designed to give organizations running mission-critical workloads a choice of Integrity server platforms powered by Itanium or x86 chips and running a range of OSes—from HP-UX to Windows to Linux—and all sharing a common converged infrastructure.

HP's Itanium-based server business took a hit in 2011 when Oracle officials announced they would no longer port their enterprise applications to the Itanium platform. Even though a judge the following year ruled Oracle was violating an agreement with HP and ordered the software company to continue supporting Itanium—about 140,000 customers at the time ran Oracle software on HP Itanium systems—HP saw its high-end server sales suffer.

Oracle had argued that Intel officials intended to end development of Itanium, an idea officials with both Intel and HP denied. HP is by far Intel's largest Itanium customer. Intel officials still intend to release "Kittson"—the next generation of Itanium—within the next two to three years, though last year they said some changes were being made to the plans, due in large part to continued declining demand for Unix servers and changing requirements of HP.