Opera House eyes new SMB blade system

No special power or cooling required

The Sydney Opera House is looking to extend its existing blade server infrastructure with HP's new c3000 series systems which promise to bring enterprise blade technology to branch offices and SMBs.

Speaking at the HP BladeSystem c3000 launch at the world-famous icon, Sydney Opera House information systems director Claire Swaffield said due to the way the business has changed over the past few years, IT is no longer discrete but an integral part of its operations.

"Our CRM strategy is dependent on Itanium and blades, which has brought the relationship with customers to a new level," Swaffield said.

With 35 percent of Opera House tickets now purchased online and a new Web site due for launch before the end of the year, Swaffield said its Web services need to be scalable.

"We have a virtual server environment with HP's c-Class blades and we are seeing rapid scalability on pre-launch testing," she said.

Swaffield said the remote management capabilities and reduced server footprint are the most attractive qualities of blade servers and while not using it yet, the new c3000 system is ideal for the Opera House's small data centre.

Dubbed "Shorty", HP's BladeSystem c3000 claims to reduce power and cooling by up to 30 percent, reduce SAN connection costs by 60 percent, and reduce cabling by up to 94 percent.

The rack-mountable c3000 is 27 centimetres high, houses up to eight blades, and plugs into a standard wall power outlet, a feature HP believes will attract more SMB customers. A tower version of the c3000 is due early next year.

The c3000 is fully compatible with the existing line of HP BladeSystem c-Class servers and network connectivity options. It also supports the HP ProLiant, Integrity, and StorageWorks server and storage blades.

Also included is HP's Web-based management software for administering the blades.

HP Australia's blade server product marketing manager, Andrew Cameron, said with blades all infrastructure management issues can be taken care of.

"This is the next big thing in the Australian server market as there are no special power of cooling requirements," Cameron said, adding the c3000 is a "data centre in a box".

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