Server specs: HP announces storage blade server

HP announced that its storage blade for its c-Class BladeSystem is now ready. Also: Sun adds to "try and buy," HP names new server group leader; Verari announces new NAS system.

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HP releases storage blade server

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has announced an industry first: a storage blade that slides right into one of the slots in its BladeSystem c-Class chassis, providing additional capacity to storage-hungry server blades.

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But you probably won't find too many of the new StorageWorks SB40c blades in the data center. According to Steve Gillaspy, general manager for HP BladeSystem, the target customer for the SB40c is "small-to-medium business with no SAN," or perhaps "a retail store, where [customers] want all their servers and storage in one enclosure."

"This is direct-attached storage [DAS]," Gillaspy said. "It's like an external JBOD like the [StorageWorks] MSA30 or MSA50," he added, except that it uses the power and cooling supplied by the c-Class enclosure.

Specifically, the SB40c supplies up to six 2.5-inch serial attached SCSI (SAS), serial ATA (SATA) or SCSI disk drives. Assuming 146 GB drives, it can deliver 876 GB of additional capacity.

That capacity can only be used by a single server blade in the chassis, Gillaspy said. In fact, the storage blade must be adjacent to the server blade to which you want to add capacity, as it uses the enclosure's PCI bus for connectivity.

"It's definitely not for everyone," Gillaspy said. Applications that might benefit from a storage blade include small databases, file and print, messaging or video streaming, he said.

Primitive as the initial storage blade may be, it's only a first step. In "the 2007 timeframe" HP will deliver a storage blade that can be shared by all the servers in the chassis, Gillaspy promised.

The SB40c will be available in mid-November, with a list price of $1,599 for the blade alone. A 146 GB SAS drive costs an additional $439.

Sun adds to 'try and buy' program

Sun Microsystems Inc. has added one of its newest rack servers, the Sun Fire x4600, to a 60-day free trial program and plans to do the same soon with the x4500, its storage server that was code-named "Thumper."

The x4600, released in July, is a 4U rack server that can hold up to eight dual-core Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) Opteron processors, double the power of its earlier model, the x4200. The x4600 starts at about $26,000. Other servers in the "try and buy" program include a range of Sun Fire servers, such as the Opteron-based x2100, x4100, x4200 and the UltraSPARC T1-based T1000 and T2000.

Under the program, potential customers get a free 60-day trial with Sun shipping the desired servers at no charge to end users. Users have to agree to Sun's terms and conditions when signing up at the company's "try and buy" Web site.

HP names new Itanium leader

HP has named Martin Fink, the previous leader of HP's NonStop servers, to head the Itanium server division.

The NonStop division, which sells HP's highest end servers along with its open source and Linux divisions, has become part of a combined group. Fink is the leader of the expanded group, replacing former group chief Rich Marcello, who is retiring.

HP decided to bring its open source and Linux divisions into the new group because much of the work done with open source and Linux in HP is done for higher end servers, such as the Itanium-based NonStop systems.

Verari has new blade storage system

Blade server manufacturer Verari Systems Inc. introduced a blade-based storage system at the Storage Networking World (SNW) conference this week.

The VB5150 is the San Diego company's newest option for network attached storage (NAS) on blade servers. It includes potential for up to 30 terabytes (TB) of storage for every system. The system includes a head node and four disk blades that have dual-core Intel Xeon processors.

Verari's customers include Lockheed Martin Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer

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