HP beefs up high-end Unix server line

Hewlett-Packard this month announced its latest high-end, Unix-based server, reaffirming the company's commitment to the Unix operating system and its own reduced instruction-set computing (RISC) processor architecture.

The new HP 9000 V2500 combines HP's 64-bit HP-UX 11 Unix operating system with the company's PA-8500 RISC microprocessor to provide what the company claims to be more than two times the performance capability of the older V2200 server.

"This is the most powerful microprocessor technology in the world," said Dan Glessner, marketing manager for HP 9000 services. According to Glessner, HP is focusing this new offering around its high-end data center solutions.

The HP 9000 V2500 is scalable to 128 processors, providing the horsepower required by users in large engineering enterprises running electronic design analysis, mechanical design analysis and product data management.

The company also has added the V2500 to its Mission Critical Server Suites, a product designed to provide customers with 99.95 percent availability. The goal, according to Glessner, is to reach "five nines," or 99.999 percent availability with only five minutes of downtime per year by the end of 2000. "There is no other vendor who can provide that in the Unix world," Glessner said.

In addition, HP introduced a geographical disaster-recovery program, known as Continental Clusters, and is endeavoring to drive focused data warehouse solutions, according to Glessner. Continental Clusters builds upon the company's existing MetroCluster and CampusCluster solutions and is designed to reduce disaster-induced system downtime from days to minutes.

The company also has enhanced its mission-critical services with teaming arrangements with networking vendor Cisco Systems and software vendors Oracle and SAP America.

To date, Glessner said the government is using a lot of V-class systems from HP, particularly for data warehousing. Government applications being run on these systems include warehousing applications for logistics, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, systems consolidation and technical computing, Glessner said. "The [V2500] is going to give [the government] access to very high-performance technology," he said.

Joyce Becknell, director of Unix marketing for Aberdeen Group, said this announcement showcases HP's fastest processor and the company's dedication to the HP UX operating system. "This system will be around for a while.... It's good investment protection," Becknell said. The announcement also shows that HP is "committed to the high-end server space and that they're really...committed to keeping HP RISC and HP UX going."

Glessner said HP plans to make the V2500 available on the company's General Services Administration schedule as soon as possible.

However, the scalable architecture variant, which allows up to four V2500s to share a single copy of the HP UX operating system, will require HP UX Version 11.1, which is not planned for released until April.

An entry-level configuration of the V2500, which includes a single chassis and two PA-8500 RISC processors, carries an estimated price of $US200,000, according to Glessner.

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