HP Enters PC Blade Space

The company is unveiling virtualization technologies that will make HP the second real company in the PC blade space and that will give utility computing a boost.

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Thursday is unveiling a host of virtualization technologies designed to enable enterprises to increase the utilization and ease the management of their data center resources.

Included in the host of announcements is the Palo Alto, Calif., companys entrance into the PC blade space with 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.

"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, said Mark Hudson, vice president of HPs enterprise storage and servers

Virtualizing the data center is one of the pillars of the utility computing pushes by vendors such as Computer Associates International Inc., HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc., according to one analyst. It makes data center resources more flexible and responsive to business demands and enables enterprises to cut IT costs. HPs virtualization rollout—which adds to the capabilities in its Utility Data Center offering—comes three weeks after HP announced a series of management software and services, all of which falls under its Adaptive Enterprise umbrella.

"We view virtualization as a very important component to developing an adaptive enterprise," Hudson said. "What were doing here is putting some meat on the bone."

Jean Bozman, an analyst with International Data Corp., agreed.

"All the big vendors see that, in order to get to utility computing, there are several steps youve got to take, and the first is virtualization," said Bozman, in San Jose, Calif. "Virtualization is really an absolutely essential step to making true utility computing happen."

Next page: HP expands pay-per-use billing offerings.