Hewlett-Packard is alone among the big-four server manufacturers in providing platforms based on Intel's Itanium processor. But the company says the battle for business customers is being won with advancements that include the introduction Thursday of a new line of Integrity servers that include the first dual-core versions of Itanium.
"This is the most powerful update to the Integrity server line ever," says Tim Danielsen, worldwide product line manager for Integrity servers at HP. "We are driving down the cost of enterprise computing ... bringing a lot of mainframe-caliber availability down into smaller systems."
The Itanium processor was developed in partnership between Intel and HP, although HP two years ago dropped further chip-level development efforts and left advancement of the architecture to Intel. IBM and Dell had originally offered servers based on Itanium, but have since withdrawn support.
Danielsen says sales of Integrity servers, which use the Itanium processor, are doubling every quarter and more than half of the largest 100 businesses in the world now use them. There are also more than 9,000 third-party software products that support the platform.
The servers introduced on Thursday will provide twice the performance of the previous generation of Integrity systems, he says.
HP is introducing the Integrity rx6600 and rx3600 servers, which are available with HP-UX 11i, Microsoft Windows, Linux, or Open VMS operating systems. The new servers use HP's zx2 chipset, which provides up to twice the energy efficiency of HP's previous generations and reduces power and cooling costs by up to 50%, Danielsen says.
The use of Intel's recently introduced dual-core Itanium 2 Montecito processors also effectively doubles the capacity of the Integrity servers.
Later this year, HP plans to add support for Windows to HP's Integrity Virtual Machines to allow multiple operating system instances to share a single processor. At that time, HP will also extend support for Integrity Essentials Capacity Advisor and Virtualization Manager to Windows and Linux, in addition to current support for HP-UX 11i.
The Integrity servers are expected to be used specifically for business intelligence and transactional database workloads.