Mission Critical Computing Blog
Your source for the latest insights on HP Integrity, mission critical computing, and other relevant server and technology topics from the BCS team.

Mission-Critical Systems -- It’s about more than the processor!

For years, Intel has enhanced the Xeon processors by adding reliability features.   With enhancements made in the last year, the question is once again being asked, do x86 servers provide the same mission-critical capabilities as the Itanium-based Integrity servers running HP-UX, OpenVMS or the Integrity NonStop systems.   The simple answer is NO.   The Integrity environment is a bullet-proof mission-critical environment that builds in resiliency at the processor, firmware, server, and operating environment---for a complete mission-critical system.


The Itanium processor continues to deliver higher levels of reliability even though Xeon continues to add additional reliability features with every release.    Not only has Itanium had many of the “new” resiliency features now found in Xeon such as Double Device Data Correction (DDDC) for years, but these features have been hardened for multiple generations into the Integrity hardware, firmware and HP-UX operating system.  Itanium has a 3rd generation MCA architecture and advanced error containment  and compared to other architectures supports both consumed and unconsumed errors.  The important differentiator is that the hardware, firmware and operating system need to support the advanced resiliency features.  So if the processor supports hot-swap memory, but the system (hardware, firmware and OS) don't support the feature the benefit is unrealized.  


The Itanium processor has and will continue to add new resiliency features to meet the ever greater demands of the mission-critical market.  Intel recently disclosed additional details about the upcoming Itanium Poulson processor and outlined expanded resiliency features that included: error prevention, end to end error correction and improved firmware error handling.


The key point to remember when talking about mission-critical systems is that it is about more than the processor, it is in fact about the total system and what you do to build resiliency in across the system.  What differentiates our Integrity product line from other options in the market is  not just the Itanium processor, but the hardware, the firmware and the HP-UX operating system that provide advance resiliency.   Features such as:

  • Superdome Crossbar Fabric with no single points of failure in the datapath
  • Superdome Analysis Engine providing the intelligence to keep the system running when errors occur that would otherwise take the system down.
  • Electrically isolated hard partitions crucial for mission-critical virtualization


So yes, the Xeon processor continues to add new resiliency features but Xeon processors don’t compare to the Itanium-based HP Integrity systems which have had these features for multiple generations and they have been hardened into the Integrity hardware, firmware and HP-UX operating system. .




Director, HP BCS Hardware Planning and Marketing

Ian Miller(anon) | ‎05-05-2011 09:45 AM

and not just HP-UX but OpenVMS also makes good use of the RAS features of the HP Integrity Servers.


Although the HP Integrity Servers now share various componets with the Xeon based systems the whole server design is important in server resilliance. 

John Cookson(anon) | ‎10-30-2011 09:48 PM

I can certainly vouch for the bullet-proof characteristics of OpenVMS, having seen this operating system in action for many years in enterprise environments, where these systems run for years without needing to be rebooted. It makes you forget there is an operating system at all. This kind of reliability is simply stunning. Perhaps it is also one of the reasons that OpenVMS is so rarely discussed.





Leave a Comment

We encourage you to share your comments on this post. Comments are moderated and will be reviewed
and posted as promptly as possible during regular business hours

To ensure your comment is published, be sure to follow the community guidelines.

Be sure to enter a unique name. You can't reuse a name that's already in use.
Be sure to enter a unique email address. You can't reuse an email address that's already in use.
Type the characters you see in the picture above.Type the words you hear.
About the Author
About the Author(s)
  • I work as a Master Architect in HP Servers R & D group. I work with teams spread across the lab and outside to build solutions which are highly available on HP-UX, OpenVMS and Mission Critical Linux platforms. In particular I contribute to develop HP Serviceguard clusters, HP-UX Security and Middleware products. I have been with HP for last 17 years and have exposure to HA/DR field from both R & D and customer perspectives.
  • Kirk Bresniker is the Vice President/Chief Technologist for HP Business Critical Systems where he has technical responsibility for all things Mission Critical, including HP-UX, NonStop and scalable x86 platforms. He joined HP in 1989 after graduating from Santa Clara University and has been an HP Fellow since 2008.
  • I’m the worldwide marketing manager for HP NonStop. I’ll be blogging and tweeting out news as it relates to NonStop solutions – you can find me here and on twitter at @CarolynatHP
  • Cynthia is part of the HP ExpertOne team. ExpertOne offers professional IT training and certifications from infrastructure refresh to areas that span across the datacenter like Cloud and Converged Infrastructure.
  • Hi, I work on the HP Servers team as HP-UX worldwide product marketing manager. I´m interested in how customers use our technology and will be blogging about their stories and on how our products evolve to help their businesses be always on.
  • I have worked with NonStop systems since 1982. I am a Master Technologist for HP and am part of the IT SWAT organization, the Cloud SWAT and work with HP Labs. I report into the Enterprise Solutions and Architecture organization.
  • Joe Androlowicz is a Technical Communications and Marketing manager in HP’s NonStop Product Division. Joe is a 25 year journeyman in information systems design, instructional technologies and multimedia development. He left Apple Computer for Tandem Computers to help launch G03 and hasn’t looked back yet. He previously managed the program management team for the NonStop Education and Training Center and drove the development and growth of the NonStop Certification programs.
  • Hello! I am a social media manager for servers, so my posts will be geared towards HP server-related news & info.
  • HP Servers, Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and ExpertOne
  • Luke Oda is a member of the HP's BCS Marketing team. With a primary focus on marketing programs that support HP's BCS portfolio. His interests include all things mission-critical and the continuing innovation that HP demonstrates across the globe.
  • I am the Superdome 2 Product Manager. My interest is to learn how mission critical platform helps customers and would also like to share my thoughts on how Superdome has been helping customers and will continue to do so.
  • I work in the HP Servers marketing group, managing a marketing team responsible for marketing solutions for enterprise customers who run mission-critical workloads and depend on HP to keep their business continuously running.
  • Mohan Parthasarathy is a Technical Architect in the HP-UX lab. His primary focus currently is in the core kernel, platform enablement and virtualization areas of HP-UX. Mohan has worked on various modules of HP-UX, including networking protocol stacks, drivers, core kernel and virtualization
  • I’m the Worldwide Product Marketing Manager for HP Serviceguard Solutions for Linux in BCS. I’ll be blogging about the latest news and enhancements as it relates to this product.
  • Greetings! I am on the HP Enterprise Group marketing team. Topics I am interested in include Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and Management, and HP BladeSystem.
  • As a Managing Consultant for HP’s Enterprise Solution & Architecture group, I collaborate with client business and IT senior management to understand, prioritize and architect advanced use of data and information, drawing insights required to make informed business decisions. My current focus leverages event-driven business intelligence design techniques and technologies to identify patterns, anticipate outcomes and proactively optimize business response creating a differentiated position in the marketplace for the client.
  • Wendy Bartlett is a Distinguished Technologist in HP’s NonStop Enterprise Division, and focuses on dependability – security and availability - for the NonStop server line. She joined Tandem in 1978. Her other main area of interest is system architecture evolution. She has an M.S. degree in computer science from Stanford University.
  • I am part of the integrated marketing team focused on HP Moonshot System and HP Scale-up x86 and Mission-critical solutions.

Follow Us