HP offers NonStop assurance

For the last 20 years, Hewlett Packard has been making high-end servers addressing the needs of the enterprise market, and it has shown no signs of stopping. Last month, the company released latest versions of one of its oldest product lines, which comes coincidentally as the first release of the “New” HP.

According to HP, its NonStop servers are the core transaction engines for the performance and memory-intensive applications that are critical to financial, telecommunications and e-business markets.

HP has released the NonStop S86000 server, the highest performing addition to the high-end server line-up. The S86000 features the MIPS R14000 microprocessor, double the cache size and four times the maximum memory of existing NonStop S-series servers. Also included is a high-speed disk drive and the NonStop SQL/MX 1.5 relational database, which provides publish/subscribe and queuing functionality. Combined, HP said the S86000 delivers up to a 90 per cent processor performance boost over its predecessor, the S74000.

Also new in the NonStop line is the S76 family, which includes the high-end S76000 and low end S760. Expected for release in Q3 are the entry-level S76 and midrange S7600 models, all of which boast an estimated 50 per cent performance improvement over the S74000 series.

According to Dick Bird, NonStop marketing manager for HP Canada in Richmond Hill, Ont., the NonStop line was designed in the late ’70s for organizations looking to process transactions on a 24x7x365 basis, where downtime is unacceptable.

“That includes pretty well any bank you could ever think of, every stock exchange and every telecommunications company worldwide,” Bird said.

Bird noted that these offerings come as part of HP’s Zero Latency Enterprise initiative (ZLE), which provides customers with the architecture and platform to rid complexity from two business necessities: integrating company data in real-time; and leveraging legacy apps for better customer service. These business necessities are backed by the NonStop server’s ability to support mixed workloads of large transaction volumes while conducting database queries.

“The Zero Latency initiative…is where I see IT processing has always wanted to go,” Bird said. “It provides the ability to deliver the changes in the organization to all the applications that are required to know about that change, in real-time.”

Although notably not a volume seller, the NonStop servers are an important part of HP’s enterprise strategy, according to IDC Canada.

Greg Ambrose, research analyst with the Toronto-based market research firm, said that although the telecom market has seen a lag in growth rates recently, the high-end NonStop’s will still be purchased.

“It is not a huge market overall, but it is an important market especially with HP,” Ambrose said. “The way they are approaching it is as an inroad to their other systems. The idea behind it is you get (the NonStop) in and you also sell services and smaller network hardware around or in conjunction with it because it is a solution. I don’t think HP is able to see the telecom industry as a huge growth opportunity. But, they do have other applications…retail is one of them, and the financial industry is another. Any application where you have a distributed network that has to be managed centrally would be a (candidate) for these servers.”

Ambrose added that since the product line has been around for decades, HP has been able to reach a comfort level with its customers. He said that these customers need peace of mind when it comes to investing in these offerings.

“These are not cheap solutions, but they are necessary,” he said. “For applications like telecom and retail, it is very important to have this assurance that the networks are solid. They are still willing to pay for that.”

For more information on HP’s NonStop servers, visit the company on the Web at www.hp.com.