HP speeds ProLiant servers with new Xeons

Hewlett-Packard Co. detailed a trio of new ProLiant server models on Monday that will support some of the fastest server processors to date from Intel Corp.

The ProLiant DL580, DL320 and DL360 systems are the latest additions to HP’s Intel-based server line acquired in the merger with Compaq Computer Corp. All three systems are designed to fit into a standard server rack and pack a large amount of processing power in a small space.

HP recently has worked to add new Intel chips to its products at a quicker clip, as the company battles Dell Computer Corp. and IBM Corp. in this part of the server market. Although HP holds the top spot among Intel-based server vendors in market share, it lost ground to both Dell and IBM in the third quarter, according to recent numbers from Gartner Inc.

To help keep the pressure on its rivals, HP hopes to keep its products as up-to-date as possible, said James Mouton, vice-president of HP’s Industry Standard Servers.

The DL580 sits at the higher end of HP’s ProLiant line and can fit four Xeon processors in a 4U (7 inches high) space. With the latest DL580, HP has added in support for the new 1.8GHz-to-2.0GHz Xeon MP chips, code-named Gallatin. Earlier versions of these servers used previous generations of the Xeon processor at lower speeds.

The system is geared toward handling business software such as CRM (customer relationship management) applications and databases, Mouton said. These types of applications should receive a boost from the 2MB Level 3 cache included with high-end Gallatin chips. The previous Foster family of Xeon chips had a 1MB cache.

The DL580 is available immediately for US$19,810 with two 2.0GHz Xeon chips, 2GB of memory and an 18GB hard drive.

HP has also sped up its 1U (1.75 inches high) ProLiant DL360 and DL320 servers. The ProLiant DL360 will start shipping in mid-December with 2.4GHz and 2.8GHz Xeon chips that support a 533MHz front-side bus. The ProLiant DL320 also will ship in mid-December with a 2.26GHz Pentium 4 processor. The ProLiant DL360 comes with some higher-end features not included in the DL320, such as hot-plug hard drives and hot-plug, redundant power supplies, Mouton said.

Both systems are designed to handle tasks such as Web serving and caching.

The DL360 is priced at US$2,599 with one 2.4GHz Xeon, 512MB of memory and no hard drives. Pricing details were not immediately available for the DL320, but HP said the systems would start at US$1,449.

HP’s ProLiant systems support various versions of Linux, Microsoft Corp.’s NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 operating systems and Novell Inc.’s NetWare OS.