HP adds to Integrity lineup

In an effort to appeal to the masses, Hewlett-Packard Co. recently launched additions to its Integrity server line, based on Intel Corp.’s Itanium 64-bit processor. However, while the company hopes to reach out to the mid-level market, one industry observer is not so sure those companies will respond.

The HP Integrity line, first announced in June, offers high-performance, high scalability and multi-OS support, HP said. In its original launch, the company targeted high-end users with the line, featuring the Integrity Superdome 64-way server.

Rounding out the offering, HP is eyeing the mid-tier market with its latest announcement. The Itanium-based HP Integrity rx4640 four-way high density server along with the rx7620 eight-way and rx8620 16-way mid-range servers enable mid-tier corporations to have high-processing power without the high cost associated with it.

“This announcement will appeal to everyone,” explained Steve Shaw, business development manager, Enterprise Storage and Servers Group, with HP Canada in Mississauga, Ont. “A lot of enterprise applications use mid-range products and servers as part of their solution stacks. These servers are going to appeal to a number of segments in the industry.”

However, Charles King, senior analyst with Mountain View, Calif.-based Sageza Group, is not so confident of enterprise demand for the high computing power the Integrity line offers. King said despite its promise, 64-bit computing has not seen the uptake companies like Intel had hoped to see.

According to King, part of Itanium’s problem is the limited availability of applications that run on the chip compared to more mature 64-bit platforms like Sun Microsystems Inc.’s SPARC and IBM Corp.’s Power offerings.

“The real question is whether the market really needs another discreet differentiated 64-bit platform at a point when there are already two or three other choices,” King said.

He noted there are several complications in the migration path to 64-bit computing and suggested that as of yet, there is no real necessity to push the average enterprise into that level of processing power. “If you already have 32-bit computing, why do you need to go to 64-bit?”

However, King did applaud Advanced Micro Devices’ (AMD) Opteron processor, which offers a single platform by which corporations can run 32-bit and 64-bit applications natively without making the “big commitment.”

“Opteron has thrown a monkey wrench into the mix that Intel didn’t really expect,” he explained.

Still, King said that HP’s move to extend Integrity’s capabilities to the mid-tier market makes sense.

“[The servers] give people a platform that they can buy without sinking a lot of money into and see if it is a platform they are interested in,” he added.

The HP Integrity servers run HP UX, Linux, Windows Server 2003 and OpenVMS, and can run multiple OSes simultaneously on one server. The servers also run applications from Oracle Corp., BEA Systems Inc., and SAP.

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