HP Launches 'Shorty' BladeSystem For Mid-Market - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure

HP Launches 'Shorty' BladeSystem For Mid-Market

The c3000 BladeSystem is an easy-to-configure data center in a box with integrated storage and can come prepackaged with business applications from Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and others.

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday launched a blade server chassis that HP claims offers mid-size companies an easy-to-configure data center in a box.

Hewlett-Packard shows tower version of new BladeSystem c3000.

Hewlett-Packard shows tower version of new BladeSystem c3000.
Dubbed "Shorty," the c3000 BladeSystem is available with integrated storage and can come prepackaged with business applications from Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and others. For companies deploying the compact system themselves, it can be plugged into a common wall socket, connected to a network through an Ethernet cable, and configured in a few hours. "The UPS guy can come in and install this new server into your environment," Paul Miller, VP of marketing for HP enterprise storage and servers, told InformationWeek during the product launch at the company's Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters.

The simplicity message is one heard often these days -- not just from HP, but from its rivals Dell and IBM. Dell this week launched under its "simplifying IT" initiative a storage area network array called the PowerVault MD3000i, which targets small and mid-size companies.

HP's Shorty is meant to fit anywhere within an organization. The unit is small enough to fit in a closet, and rugged enough for a factory or warehouse floor, HP executives said. "You name it, we expect to see Shorty there," Mark Potter, VP of HP BladeSystems, said. "We expect to see it in planes, trains, and automobiles. Shorty will be in cruise ships. It's going to be everywhere."

Bluster aside, HP is targeting what the company calls the "global 500,000" with the product. The c3000 is a scaled down version of the company's enterprise-class BladeSystem c7000. For storage in the smaller system, HP introduced on Wednesday the StorageWorks All-in-One SB600c Storage Blade, which is also available for the c7000. The new blade provides network-attached storage, iSCSI SAN capabilities and data protection features.

Shorty, which is available with a maximum of 1Tbyte of storage, has slots for from three to five blades, and includes HP's Virtual Connect architecture for replacing or adding blades without taking the system down.

The system also includes a 3-inch LCD screen in the front that displays configuration instructions and is also an interface for the server's management software. A remote connection is also available for HP distributors that provide support to customers remotely.

For channel partners looking to deliver a multiple application system, HP is offering what it calls Solution Blocks, which are tested and documented combinations of server blades, storage blades, and management software. The c3000 is also available through channel partners with pre-installed software from Citrix, Microsoft, Oracle, Sage Software, SAP and VMware.

The new system is also set up for virtualization, a hot topic in IT today. For installing a hypervisor to run multiple virtual machines, the c3000 includes a USB port in the motherboard for plugging in virtualization hardware from VMware or XenSource. HP ships all of its ProLiant servers with the USB port today. The company has shipped 3.5 million such servers, Miller said.

Major server vendors plan to start shipping this year and early next year products with integrated hypervisors. Such virtualization-enabled servers are coming from Dell (Dell), Fujitsu, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, IBM, NEC, and others.

HP, Dell, and IBM have all claimed to have simplified server and storage configuration and deployment for small and medium-sized businesses. IBM in April introduced additional configurations of its entry-level System Storage DS 3000 series for SMBs. Bundled in the new configurations were controllers, cables, host buss adapters and other components.

Pricing for HP's BladeSystem c3000 starts at $4,299, and the SB600c at $9,968.

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