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.

On the Road with the new HP Integrity Servers

Ever since Tech @
Work, and the announcement of the new HP Integrity servers, I've been on the
road to bring the news to customers, partners, and our internal sales force. It
is great to be able to share the systems that we're so excited about with customers,
partners, and with readers on this blog.


The first thing that
I noticed on this trip was that having one of the new
HP Integrity blades
at a customer or training event really helped people
understand our new products. Being able to pick up and handle one of the new
Blade Link connectors that join two or four blades together, and seeing how
simple it is to change them, really gets people to think about how that can
change the way they provision IT. Seeing the inch long guide pins for the
processor (and the Blade Link connectors) help drive the point home that these
new servers are both field and customer upgradeable. Seeing how the systems
join together, without sacrificing any of the components on each system, helped
reinforce the point that it provides linear scaling - if you double the number
of blades, you get double the processors, double the memory slots, double the
network connections, and double the number of hard drives. It turns out that
the performance is linear as well - a quad processor, sixteen core system
provides twice the power as a dual processor, eight core system. If you haven't
had a chance to attend an event with actual systems, I'd highly recommend
checking out the
that was just posted to this blog on the new servers. It isn't as
great as getting to touch, look at, and poke around with the real thing, but
from my experience on the road the past couple of weeks, it definitely get's
you thinking about how it could change your IT environment.


On another topic, we
will be switching blog platforms in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully,
everything goes smoothly and as planned. However, there may be few or no new
posts during the transition period.  If
that happens, we'll catch up once the new platform is up and running.




Moving from old SPARC to Integrity servers - an excellent Total Cost of Ownership move

If you are running SPARC severs and are looking to improve total cost of ownership for your business critical UNIX environment - look no further than the new HP Integrity servers recently introduced.  In conjunction with this introduction last week, we have developed a new cost of ownership tool that has been posted on the TCO Challenge site.  This new TCO tool shows the cost advantages of moving to an HP Integrity blades infrastructure from a legacy SPARC-based rackmount environment.

I was doing some analysis the other day and came up with some interesting results.  I ran a report for what I consider to be a typical Sun SPARC legacy environment on the Blades TCO tool  - it consisted of two legacy 32-core SPARC servers running the database and eight  4-core application servers. 

The answer that came back was that you could run all the workloads with a single sixteen core HP Integrity BL870c i2 server on an HP BladeSystem.  And you get the mission criticaly capabilities of HP-UX 11i with it. 

Here are the results I got:

Core count reduction:  96 to 16 (that's 6 to 1)

Three Year Cumulative TCO Savings (total):  $4.47 million to $683,000

Return on Investment: 1747%

Payback Period;  3 months

If I were running my business critical operations older Sun SPARC servers, I would definitely take a look at moving to HP Integrity blades.  And there still would be slots available on the HP BladeSystem to put in Integrity or ProLiant blades. 

HP Tech @ Work: Integrity Blades Breakout Session

I started
Wednesday morning at HP Technology @ Work at the Integrity Blades Breakout
Session, delivered by Martin Goldstein. The BL890c i2 blade is the first 8
socket UNIX blade server in the industry.


The new BL8x0c
i2 blade family
uses the Boxboro chipset from Intel. It is a common chipset
that HP uses for both Xeon and Itanium servers. For the Itanium processor,
Intel has included memory double chip spare as part of the on processor memory
controller, instead of on a separate memory controller as we have done in the
past. The memory controller now offers 8 memory busses at 800 Mhz per core, or
32 memory busses per socket. In addition, HP still provides 3 DIMM slots per
processor core, or 24 memory slots on a two socket blade.


Martin spent
some time discussing the new Blade Link that connects blades to each other. It
has guides, and is customer installable, as Martin Fink showed in the tear down
the on Tuesday. The BladeLink uses QPI to link up to 4 blades. It uses 5 links
per socket, so no processor is more than 1 hop away, even when you have 8
sockets. The memory bandwidth is about one order of magnitude greater than on
our previous generation servers. Benchmarks, such as the Streams Triad, which
is memory intensive, are showing greater than 9x performance improvements
compared to the previous generation.


Martin also
highlighted the I/O capabilities of the BL8x0c i2 family. Each blade has 4 x
Flex-10 links. Each Flex-10 link can be separated into 4 FlexNics, since most
customers can't use direct 10Gb links in many situations. HP can also add
Flex-10 capable mezzanine cards. This means that on a BL890c i2 server, we can
have up to 128 FlexNics. This is a whole lot of network bandwidth for an 8
socket server.


All in all, the
new HP Integrity BL8x0c i2 servers offer a lot of CPU, memory, and I/O
bandwidth, in a very flexible environment. As I've mentioned before, not only
are these very capable servers, but their flexibility allows people to select a
server that fits their needs today, and know that they can easily grow the
system as needed in the future.


What else do you
want to know about these systems? If you have questions, please post a comment,
and I'll try to get additional answers.




Witness: The New HP Integrity Servers

Well, this is
it. The Itanium 9300 processor was announced in February, and today, HP is
announcing the new HP
Integrity servers


We could have
just thrown a faster processor, DDR 3 memory, and a new I/O  into our existing rack mount servers. But HP,
after talking to many of our customers, has decided to do something just a
little different.


HP has decided to bring mission critical systems to a bladed environment, providing customers with a modular, flexible server. Utilizing the c3000 and c7000 chassis, we can provide 2,
4, and 8 socket blades
. These blades are modular. The base unit is a 2
socket, BL860c i2. Two of them linked together with our scalable BladeLink,
becomes a 4 socket, BL870c i2. Four BL860c i2 linked together becomes an 8
socket BL890c i2. This not only provides linear socket growth, but linear,
memory growth, linear hard drive growth, and linear I/O growth.


I'm very excited
about these blades, since they provide modularity and flexibility without
requiring an investment in a fairly large system. And yet, they still provide
scaling. For instance, you can put 2 BL890c i2 servers in a single 10 U, c7000
chassis. This provides 64 cores, 768 Gb of memory in 192 DIMM slots, 16 hard
drives, and if I remember correctly, 32 Virtual Connect Flex-10 connections.


This is a lot of
power in a single 10U c7000 chassis. And the nice part is, it can potentially
be configured in different ways - 2 BL890c i2 servers, 4 BL870c i2 servers, 8
BL860c i2 servers, or some combination in between. This is especially useful if
you want to start small, but want to have room to grow in the future without a
big up front investment. Or, if the workload shrinks (or is oversized), you can
potentially split a larger configuration into multiple, smaller configurations.
This is flexibility that helps businesses adapt to changing requirements.


HP also
announced the Superdome
server. This is a slightly larger system which basically swaps cell
boards in the original Superdome for cell blades in Superdome 2. It is a
modified c7000 chassis that has been stretched to provide a highly redundant
cross-bar fabric. I'll cover it in more detail in another post, but it is the
combination of a highly mission critical server with the flexibility of blades.


Finally, HP has
also announced a small rack mount server for those customers who don't need
larger, more flexible servers - the rx2800
. Once again, I will cover more about it in a later post.


I'm finished
with our internal training here in Frankfurt, so I'm heading across town to HP
Technology @ Work. I will post some more about these new systems and some of
the sessions I attend over the next few days.



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  • • Responsible for product management and marketing of NonStop Database, Business Continuity, and Cloud portfolios. Define product line strategy, positioning, branding, and messaging for all products in my portfolio. • Lead the Business Development efforts to build strategic partnerships to strengthen the eco-system. • Lead the GTM around Big Data with new innovative Analytics solutions resulting in incremental revenue opportunities. • Lead product marketing efforts including strategic positioning, Go-to-Market strategy, Sales Enablement and Analyst Briefing.
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  • 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.
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  • I am a member of the Enterprise Group Global Marketing team blogging on topics of interest for HP Servers. Check out blog posts on all four Server blog sites-Reality Check, The Eye on Blades, Mission Critical Computing and Hyperscale Computing- for exciting news on the future of compute.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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