Hewlett-Packard will take a page from IBM's server blade book with the introduction on Tuesday of a new server blade for the Unix space.
With the new HP Integrity BL60p, which runs HP-UX 11i, HP becomes the second server vendor after IBM to allow the mixing of Windows, Linux and Unix server blades in a single enclosure.
The BL60p blades come with one or two Itanium 2 1.66 MHz processors and up to 8 Gbytes of memory per unit, said Brian Cox, director of server marketing for HP.
Customers can fit up to six blades in a single 6U cage, intermixed with HP's ProLiant Xeon-based or Opteron-based models, Cox said.
For solution providers, the BL60p leverages their experience in the company's OpenView system and management suite and HP's System Insight Manager for controlling server, storage, and network solutions across various operating systems, Cox said. And like other Integrity servers, the BL60p can be partitioned into as many as six HP-UX 11i virtual servers. "So there is no retraining needed for channel partners,” he said.
HP is also in the process of designing new services similar to those offered for traditional Integrity servers for solution providers who work with customers on the BL60p, Cox said.
Cox said the BL60p outperforms IBM's BladeCenter JS20 server blades by about 60 percent because it uses the Itanium 2 processor instead of IBM's PowerPC processor, which is also used by Apple in its Macintosh systems.
Marcus Berger, HP's worldwide product line manager for blades and Integrity servers, said that the return on investment for blade servers compared to pedestal servers has dropped significantly over the past few years.
"It's just east of three servers and way west of four," Berger said. "Buy three Integrity rx1620 pedestal servers versus three blade servers with enclosure and power supply, and the three blades is just a bit more expensive. But at four servers, the blades are definitely the lower-cost option."
HP is starting to take orders for the BL60p this month, with shipments expected to start in late December or early January, Cox said. Pricing starts at about $5,695 for a base model with one processor, one HP-UX license, two Fibre Channel and four Gbit Ethernet ports, and 1 Gbyte of memory.