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HP 'blades everything' -- even Superdome

In today's news in brief its push to "blade everything," HP's new Itanium servers include a Superdome in a c7000 enclosure.

Hewlett-Packard Co. has announced a new line of Integrity and Superdome servers based on the Itanium processor Intel announced two months ago.

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The new servers' highlights include mostly standard performance upgrades that come with the new chip, the quad-core, 65-nanometer Itanium 9300 series. But HP also said that the Superdome -- HP's highest-performing line of Itanium-based machines -- would be sold as blade servers instead of the previous tower configuration. HP is pushing the concept that Superdome blades will be able to plug into a blade chassis, allowing for a common infrastructure that fits into standard racks.

The Superdome 2 won't be available until the second half of the year, thus HP has not released prices for the product. It will come in an 18U c7000 enclosure, which is 8U bigger than the standard c7000 chassis, and has the capacity for eight two-socket blades, which equates to 64 Itanium processing cores. The extra space, HP says, is to build in more capabilities than a typical x86 or Integrity blade. Those capabilities include the Crossbar Fabric, a reliability feature that aids the routing of data between blades and I/O. HP gave the example that if an end user is running an I/O intensive application, he can take one blade and scale to as many I/O cards as he needs for a single CPU.

Jim Thomas, the director of IT operations at Pella in Pella, Iowa, a door and window manufacturer, runs Itanium-based HP Superdomes. He said the new Itanium chip may help save money on software licenses because of extra performance. He added that his shop already has an HP c7000 BladeSystem chassis, and so Superdome moving to that form factor could be a good thing.

"There are similarities in the Superdome to the c7000 and we look forward to a platform that can continue to drive the reliability we count on and increase the value of our investment moving forward," he said.

HP also announced some standard Integrity blades with either two, four or eight sockets; as well as rack servers with one and two sockets. The two-socket Integrity BL860c i2 blade starts at $6,490; the four-socket BL870c i2 blade starts at $13,970; and the eight-socket BL890c i2 blade -- which maxes out at 384 GB of memory and includes 16 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, starts at $30,935.

Finally, HP announced HP-UX 11i v3, an update that includes features for power management, IT equipment provisioning and security.

Mark Fontecchio can be reached at

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