HP Announces Dual-Processor Blade

Hewlett-Packard Monday expanded its blade server offerings with the unveiling of its ProLiant BL p-Class system, its first dual-processor blade server to hit the market.

Scheduled to begin shipping next month, the BL20p is the first dual-processor blade server that HP will release. Sally Stevens, Director of Marketing, Density Optimized Servers, described the two-processor blade as similar to the DL360 and DL380, rack-mount servers in the ProLiant line.

The advantage of the BL p-Class system over these more traditional servers comes into play for enterprises undergoing a large server deployment. The blade servers offer spatial consolidation and better cable management, issues that come into play at the data center level, where space is at a premium, Stevens told ServerWatch.

HP is positioning the p-Class system as ideal for Web hosting, e-commerce, computational clusters, and terminal server farms. In comparison, the eClass blades that been available since January are positioned as ideal for edge applications.

The dual-processor blades are positioned at “the sweet spot of blade deployment,” Stevens said. She added that based on the vendor’s research, HP believed that four blades of this type are deployed for every one blade on the back-end or edge.

The BL20p comes in a 6U chassis and features two 1400 MHz processors, 512 MB of memory (four DIMM slots make memory expandable to up to 4 GB), up to 144 GB of storage, two hot-plug SCSI hard drive bays, a Smart Array 5i RAID controller with an optional battery-backed write cache and Integrated Lights-Out Advanced Packs. The BL p-Class systems will also offer redundant power capabilities, and four integrated NICS (one of which is dedicated to Integrated Lights-Out management).

The BL20p is scheduled to ship in late September. The next generation of pClass blades, scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2003, will offer SAN connectivity, clustering, and integration. In addition to a new version of the BL20p, a four-processor version will be released at this time.

Unlike some of the first blade servers to hit the streets, the BL20p will offer “investment protection,” Stevens noted. The next generation of blades will be able operate in the same chassis alongside this version of the BL20p.