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HP Takes Out After Egenera

HP Takes Out After Egenera

HP Monday became the first major vendor to announce the imminent arrival of a four-processor blade server – (told ya so) – putting the squeeze on Egenera, the smarty-pants start-up that’s had the play to itself since last March. HP figures it’s got the only three-tiered blade architecture in the business.

HP is calling its box the ProLiant BL40p and expects to be able to start selling it in mid-March at a starting price of $8,999. It’s assumed that by announcing it two months before deliveries might start, HP is trying to give Egenera customers and prospects pause.

HP describes the BL40p as fit for back-end enterprise applications because of its heterogeneous SAN connectivity reportedly enabling scalability to hundreds of terabytes. It imagines the thing as a large enterprise application system doing messaging, CRM and ERP and would prefer if you bought it with its HP StorageWorks SANs and NAS systems.

In response, Egenera founder and CTO Vern Brownell said, “Vendors focused on cranking out blades don’t understand where data centers are heading and what customers really need. In our view, blades are just a form factor, nothing more than a miniaturization of legacy server architectures. Instead, the real value lies in data center virtualization – a vendor’s ability to transform static physical resources into software so they can be pooled and centrally managed for assignment to applications as needed. Egenera has an 18-24 month lead on the likes of HP, IBM and Sun in the virtualization space.”

HP’s box is managed with ProLiant Essential, HP Insight Manager 7 and HP OpenView and OpenView Storage Area Manager.

The HP widgetry uses the Gallatin Xeon MP chips at speeds of either 1.5GHz or 2GHz and a maximum 12GB of memory to a blade. HP is using the same 6U chassis for the thing as it does for the BL20p but can only get two of the Gallatin blades in the housing. It figures 12 blades to a rack, 48 processors, leaving the bottom 6U space for redundant power supplies.

HP also has a next-generation 6U ProLiant BL20p, whose twin-processor blades have been upgraded from the 1.4GHz Pentium III chip to the hyperthreaded 2.8GHz Prestonia Xeon. It will start at $3,399 and has the same SAN connectivity as its new big brother.

Eight Prestonia blades will fit in the 6U chassis and HP says BL20p blades can be mixed in the same housing with a BL40p blade.

The low-end single-processor 3U BL10e edge box has been upgraded from the 800MHz ULV PIII to the 900MHz rev of the chip. The rev is available immediately starting at $1,859.

HP claims to own 54% of the blade server market and recently passed the milestone of shipping 15,000 boxes.

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More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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