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HP Takes On Cisco's Unified Computing System

The starter kit has an enclosure with eight blade servers, HP's Virtual Connect 8-Gb Fibre Channel and Flex-10 Ethernet modules, and the StorageWorks EVA 4400 disk array.

Hewlett-Packard on Monday launched a data center system that incorporates storage, computing, and networking in a single unit that would compete against Cisco's recently introduced Unified Computing System.

Similar to the Cisco product, the concept behind HP's BladeSystem Matrix is to provide a single system that can be configured quickly and up and running with minimum hassle. To accomplish that goal, HP ships with its system the Matrix Orchestration Environment, software that provides a unified management interface to design, deploy, and optimize application infrastructure.

The "starter kit" for the BladeSystem Matrix has an enclosure with eight blade servers, HP's Virtual Connect 8-Gb Fibre Channel and Flex-10 Ethernet modules, and the StorageWorks EVA 4400 disk array. The Flex-10 module is an I/O product that can allocate bandwidth to a 10 Gigabit Ethernet network port across four network interface cards.

Each Matrix enclosure can hold up to 16 blades, and a standard BladeSystem rack can hold up to four enclosures. The systems are built to power databases and business applications, such as ERP and CRM software.

The Matrix starter kit starts at $150,000. A major difference between HP's offering and Cisco's is that HP's product is available now.

Cisco's UCS is scheduled for release this year. The company last week released details on the technology and pricing. Cisco's entry-level system will come with one blade and start at $76,383.

In launching the product last month, Cisco assembled a formidable alliance of storage and software vendors, including BMC Software, Citrix Systems, EMC, Microsoft, SAP, and VMware.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on data center unification. Download the report here (registration required).

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