HP ships dense 4-socket servers for virtualized environments

HP crams 4 sockets into a 2-socket server frame

Hewlett-Packard's new four-socket blade and rack servers for virtualized environments will provide more processing cores and memory in a tighter space so that virtual machines can be deployed more quickly, the company said on Tuesday.

The 4-socket ProLiant BL660c Gen8 blade and ProLiant DL560 Gen8 rack servers will provide more computing power in the frame of a 2-socket server, said John Gromala, director of product marketing for industry standard servers and software at HP. They are the first 4-socket servers in the Gen8 portfolio. The ProLiant BL660c Gen8 is roughly half the size of similar servers from the previous generation.

Depending on the server type, virtual machine deployments can be up to 30 percent faster compared to HP's previous generation servers, Gromala said. The servers are also targeted at hybrid cloud deployments.

The servers will run on Intel's Xeon E5-4600 processors, which come with up to 8 cores. The BL660c Gen8 blade will accommodate up to 1TB of DDR3 memory, while the DL560 Gen8 rack will support up to 1.5TB. The modules have been tweaked so more memory could be put in the servers compared to 2-socket server designs.

While there are some exceptions, a majority of enterprises deploy virtualization as a cost-saving measure as it balances workload execution and power consumption in a distributed computing environment, Gromola said. That provides a better performance-per-watt ratio, which helps cut overall server maintenance costs and energy bills, Gromola said.

The servers are also meant for workloads such as databases, but some customers may forgo virtualization and rely directly on in-memory transaction processing. Virtualization could block the path between memory and database, which may result in slower response time for transactions.

The Gen8 servers also have sensors that can monitor and cap power use. HP also provides tools to remotely manage and operate servers.

The ProLiant BL660c Gen8 starts at US$7,970, while the ProLiant DL560 Gen8 starts at $5,912, and the servers are available worldwide. The servers support Microsoft Windows Server, Red Hat or Suse Linux or Oracle Solaris operating systems, and virtualization technologies from Microsoft, VMWare and Citrix.

Hewlett-Packard in February announced the first Gen8 servers, which were all 2-socket systems.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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