Hewlett-Packard's new low-end Integrity servers target smaller businesses in need of fault-tolerant computing.
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Based on dual-core Intel Itanium CPUs, the NonStop NS2000 servers refresh a single-core line that Hewlett-Packard Co. released in 2007. The new Integrity boxes come in two- and four-processor configurations (four- and eight-core) with 8 GB or 16 GB of memory per processor.
"One of the markets we saw for low-end NonStop servers was in the health-care area," said Jim Johnson, chairman of the analyst firm the Standish Group. "It also works in some of the smaller banks, payment systems and ATM networks."
Johnson called it a pretty standard refresh to the NS1000 and NS1200 that HP came out with a few years ago, and it also offers a rack-based alternative to Integrity NonStop blade servers that debuted last year. Randy Meyer, HP's product management director for business-critical systems, did not specify prices, but companies can expect to pay well into the six figures for a standard configuration including servers, storage and networking in a standard server cabinet. Each dual-core processor takes up about 2U by itself.Upgrading 'in place'
The new servers could be a lower-cost alternative to customers' current leased machines because they reduce maintenance, power and cooling requirements, Meyer said.
"Plus, it gets our customers into the newer environment, and that's beneficial for us because it helps us reduce back-end support costs," Meyer said. Though he didn't say it, getting old PA-RISC and Itanium customers to move to newer Itanium hardware also prevents them from migrating to another non-HP platform, whether Unix or x86.
End users will also be able to replace the dual-core Itanium chips in these boxes with quad-core Itaniums, which are due out later this year. This move is consistent with Integrity and Itanium history, and one that Johnson said was good for users.
"I think it is a big deal anytime you can upgrade in place," he said. "One of the things we see fairly regularly in the NonStop market is that people grow their transactions and their workloads and are always looking to increase capacity. Being able to do it in place without swapping out a whole server or cabinet is important.