HP readies multiprocessor blades

Hewlett-Packard is readying its next set of blades for the second tier of the Internet infrastructure. The blades will operate as effective replacements for compact, 1U (1.75-inch) high servers.

The HP BL p-class blades are two- and four-processor servers. The two- processor blade, which is based on Intel's 'Tualatin' Pentium III chipset, is in beta test now and will ship this quarter. The four-processor blades, which are based on Intel's 'Gallatin' Xeon MP processor, will ship in the first quarter of 2003. These two-way blades will upgraded to use Intel's Pentium Xeon DP, dubbed the 'Prestonia' processor, when it is available.

HP has also set out a road map for the storage attached to its blades. First generation BL e-class blades have internal storage and are designed for Web serving, load-balancing, firewalls and caching. Second-generation BL p-class blades are designed for use as application servers, terminal server farms and streaming applications - they will use external networked-attached storage and hot-plugable SCSI drives. The third-generation blades from HP will have 1 G-bit/sec Fibre Channel uplinks and hot-plugable SCSI drives. They are designed for data center database, e-mail and enterprise resource planning applications.

HP's present BL e-class blades fit in a 3U (5.25-inch) high chassis with 280 servers per rack. The p-Class blades will fit in a 6U (10.5-inch) high chassis and allow 48 servers per rack or eight servers per chassis.

According to HP claims, its BL e-Class blades comprised 45 percent of the blade servers shipped in the first quarter of 2001. IDC estimated that 6,700 blade servers shipped in the first quarter.

HP also makes the bh7800 blades for telecommunications carriers. They are designed around the CompactPCI form factor and are Network Equipment Building System compliant.

HP indicates that the blades will be priced slightly more than comparable two- and four-way rack-mounted servers.

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