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HP Revs BladeSystem With Quad Core Itanium

The Integrity NonStop BladeSystem NB54000c includes the hardware, middleware, database, and HP-UX operating environment to run a business application out of the box, says HP.

HP Integrity NonStop BladeSystem NB54000c
(click image for larger view)
HP Integrity NonStop BladeSystem NB54000c
HP has revved up the Integrity NonStop BladeSystem with Intel's quad-core Itanium processors.

The BladeSystem NB54000c, launched Tuesday, uses the same c7000 chassis as the BladeSystem NB50000c, which used dual-core Itanium 9100 series processors. The latest system uses the quad-core 9300 series, codenamed Tukwila, released in February 2010.

The NB54000c, like its predecessor, is a fault-tolerant server built to handle massive transaction volumes found in the financial, healthcare, and telecommunication industries. The system includes the hardware, middleware, database, and HP-UX operating environment. "It's a system that can be used to run a business application right out of the box," Bob Kossler, director of storage and planning for NonStop BladeSystems, said in an interview.

The base configuration of the NB54000c uses the two-socket BL860c i2 blades. The system also supports the four-socket BL870c i2 and the eight-socket BL890c i2. The BL860c provides up to 384 GB of DDR3 memory per blade, which rises to a maximum of 1.5 TB with the BL890c.

Because the same chassis is used with the NB50000c and the NB54000c, users can add the quad-core Itanium blades with dual-core blades to boost performance within the same hardware. The Integrity NonStop BladeSystems use HP's core interconnectivity technology, called ServerNet. The interconnect fabric technology provides intra-system, inter-processor communications; attachment of I/O devices; and inter-system (local and long distance) connectivity.

The NB54000c has an entry-level price ranging between $100,000 and $200,000, Kossler said.

Companies using the latest Itanium system include Internet company AOL, system integrator Daiwa Institute of Research Business Innovation, and Netherlands-based PinkRoccade Healthcare, according to HP.

The 9300 series of the RISC-based Itanium was two years behind schedule when it shipped last year. In building the chip, Intel shrunk the size of its transistors to 65 nanometers from the previous generation's 90 nm, increasing the number of transistors to 2 billion to give the product a significant performance boost. Compared to the previous model, Tukwila offered up to 800% the interconnect bandwidth, up to 500% the memory bandwidth, and up to 700% the memory capacity when using DDR3 memory components.

The motherboard socket supporting Tukwila will be used in future Itanium chips, code-named Poulson and Kittson, Intel has said. Using the same socket means customers can upgrade without changing hardware, which is important because of the expense of the high-end systems that use Itanium.

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