HP unveils new Itanium servers

Hewlett-Packard Co. is likely to detail additions to its Itanium 2-based Integrity server portfolio, including new virtualization software and a pay-per-use model for Windows, a first for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm. HP Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina, HP executive vice-president Ann Livermore and other HP executives are expected to make the official announcement during a Web cast on Tuesday.

The new Itanium servers will support the OpenVMS 8.2 operating system, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and Novell’s Linux 9.1 and will continue to run Windows and HP-UX 11i (HP’s version of the Unix operating system).

Multiple operating systems can be run on the same server using partitioning technology, HP said.

Virtualization features include secure resource partitions, and the Global Workload Manager, which works across virtual and physical servers as a live data centre utility, HP said. Global Workload Manager enables users to transfer resources and workloads between servers.

The new servers run 25 per cent faster than their predecessors, HP claimed, and are available with as much as 9 megabytes of cache, range in price from the low-end US$ 4,119 Integrity rx1620 model up to the HP Integrity Superdome server priced at US$ 185,252.

HP also said the new pay-per-use option targets enterprise hosting Microsoft Corp.’s SQL Server consolidation and data warehousing. Previously, the option used automated metering technology to measure CPU use and charge accordingly for its Unix servers for a couple of years. HP said this announcement extends the option to Windows platforms. The server news follows last week’s announcement that HP will merge its PC and printing units.

Michelle Warren, analyst for Toronto-based Evans Research Corp. (ERC) said by merging the Imaging and Printing Group — which includes its printers and projector products — with the desktop and notebook PC division, HP hopes to better streamline its management and marketing initiatives and get products to market faster.

The newly created unit, known as the Imaging and Personal Systems Group (IPSG), will be headed by Vyomesh Joshi, currently executive vice-president of the Imaging and Printing Group.

HP has struggled to sustain the profitability of its PC business in the years after its acquisition of Compaq. Warren said HP is up against stiff competition from PC maker Dell Corp., which has kept HP from attaining top market share. In 2003, HP combined the Enterprise Systems Group with the HP Services Group in hopes of ending losses within its server and storage group.

The printer business, however, is the most impressive division within HP. The printing unit has been successful on the enterprise and the consumer side, Warren noted. In November, Fiorina said the PC division has not lived up to profitability expectations and that HP is looking for ways to improve profits within that group.

Alan Freedman, research manager, infrastructure hardware for Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd. said the announcement demonstrates HP’s continued commitment to the Itanium platform.

The adoption of Itanium by enterprises has been slower than HP anticipated, Freedman said. “Enterprises don’t want to migrate unless they have to – it’s incumbent on HP to show the value proposition.”

— With files from IDG News service

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