Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo are rolling out new and enhanced high-end servers aimed at compute-intensive workloads such as SAP’s HANA in-memory platform.
The new systems, announced May 5, coincide with Intel’s launch of its latest high-end server chip, the Xeon E7 v3 processor, which officials with the giant chip maker said offers six times the performance of its predecessor and can scale up to 18 cores and 12TB of memory.
HP is unveiling a range of compute platforms for high-end applications in its Apollo, Integrity Superdome X and ProLiant Gen 9 server families that leverage both the new Xeon E7 and recent Xeon E5 v3 processors. For its part, Lenovo, at its Sapphire Now conference in Orlando, Fla., is introducing an array of workload-optimized systems aimed at organizations deploying the SAP HANA technology and that are built on Lenovo’s System x3850 and x3950 servers that run on the new Xeon E7 chips.
The new systems come as workloads like big data analytics and databases are fueling an increasing demand for more powerful servers with four or more sockets. The growing performance, scalability and reliability in Intel’s high-end x86 server chips are enabling OEMs to make more powerful servers that offer competitive performance and better economics than Unix-based systems powered by such processor platforms as IBM’s Power and Oracle’s SPARC.
Two-socket systems will continue to be the most popular in the x86 server space, but businesses are looking for x86-based alternatives to the more expensive RISC platforms. According to IDC analysts, revenue for x86 servers in fourth-quarter 2014 grew 7.l percent over the same period a year before, to $11.5 billion, and shipments jumped 2.9 percent. Non-x86 servers saw continued revenue decline, falling in the quarter by 14 percent year-over-year, to $3 billion, accounting for 20.7 percent of all server revenue, IDC said in a report in March. It was the 14th consecutive quarter of decline in revenue for the market segment.
Though the Unix server space continues to shrink, it’s still a $9 billion market that offers a significant growth opportunity for server makers like HP, Lenovo and Dell. HP plays in both worlds, with its x86 offerings as well as its high-end Integrity systems based on Intel’s Itanium platform. Dell last week announced PowerEdge servers based on the new Xeon E7 v3 processors. Lenovo became the world’s third-largest server vendor when it bought IBM’s x86-based server business last year for $2.1 billion.
The shrinking Unix market offers Lenovo the chance to build on that momentum “as customers migrate their applications and want to scale up to four to eight sockets,” Stuart Mcrae, director of enterprise server marketing at Lenovo, told eWEEK. “It gives us lots of headroom to grow. It’s from the two-way segment. The two-way segment is very broad.”
The market for systems with four or more sockets is fairly specific in the high-end, mission-critical applications that define it, from databases and analytics to enterprise-resource management (ERP) and customer-relationship management (CRM), Mcrae said.
Jeff Kyle, director of product management for mission-critical systems at HP, said it’s becoming increasingly important to look at the workloads rather than the servers themselves.
“I don’t look at it as a Unix market,” Kyle told eWEEK. “I don’t look at it like a Linux market. I don’t look at it like a Windows market. I look at the applications [the businesses are] running.”
The key for vendors is to have a broad array of systems that can fit the workload demands the customer is facing, he said. It won’t work “if you have a one-size-fits-all approach and don’t understand what the customer wants to do.”
HP, Lenovo Offer High-End Servers Based on New Intel Xeon E7 Chips
HP is introducing three systems to its ProLiant Gen9 server lineup, which launched last year. The DL580 Gen9 is a four-socket system that offers up to a 39 percent increase in performance over previous systems with up to four Xeon E7 4800 or 8800 v3 chips ranging from four to 18 cores. It also includes DDR4 memory, support for general-purpose GPUs and a range of networking options. The dense 2U (3.5-inch) DL560 is a four-socket system for running multiple workloads, uses up to four Xeon E7 v3 chips, and is aimed at environments where space and price/performance are important.
The BL660c is a four-socket blade system that uses up to four of the Intel servers and offers options in storage, 32 DIMM sockets for up to 2TB of memory and twice the internal storage capacity of competitive offerings.
HP also is adding to its Apollo lineup of high-end servers, including the Apollo 2000 system for scale-out environments for greater space and cost savings. Up to four servers can fit in a standard 2U chassis, and the systems are powered by Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 v3 chips with four to 18 core and speeds up to 3.5GHz.
Meanwhile, HP is offering the dense 2U Apollo 4200 Gen9 that runs on Xeon E5-2600 v3 chips and is aimed at such workloads as object storage, Hadoop and NoSQL data analytics, and which comes in two models. The Apollo 4530 also targets big data analytics, offering three servers per 4U (7-inch) chassis and two Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors with four to 16 cores, while the 4510 can be used for object storage solutions and offer flexible performance and I/O options.
The newest x86-based Integrity Superdome X offers up to 16 sockets, 12TB of memory and nine times the performance of its predecessor. It can scale from two to 16 sockets, and is certified for Microsoft Windows, while its features make it a strong system for running SQL Server 2014 workloads.
Lenovo’s X6-based solutions are certified to run SAP HANA, while two new EMC-supported solutions also have been certified by SAP as an enterprise storage offering for SAP HANA. In addition, Lenovo’s EMC VSPEX reference architectures for private clouds and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments have been certified for SAP’s Business Suite software.
The new EMC-supported offerings add to a range of integrated solutions from the two companies that leverage Lenovo’s System x servers and EMC’s VMAX, VNX and XtremeIO storage products.