HP Sharpens Blade Lineup

Hewlett-Packard is introducing its first-ever PC blades, sporting an AMD Athlon 64 1500+ processor, a 40-Gbyte hard drive and standard XP support and licensing; Linux support will follow.

November 7, 2005

2 Min Read
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Hewlett-Packard this week is introducing its first-ever PC blades. HP’s new bc1500 PC blades include an AMD Athlon 64 1500+ processor, a 40-Gbyte hard drive and standard XP support and licensing. They eventually will support Linux, said Tad Bodeman, director of Blade PC and Thin Client Solutions in HP’s Personal Systems Group.

After logging on to their systems via an HP thin client, users are automatically allocated a PC blade. That process helps companies improve security against data loss and viruses, Bodeman said.

About 280 blade PCs can fit on a standard rack, Bodeman said.

In volume, customers can expect to pay about $1,000 per seat for the PC blades. Pricing includes the enclosure, rack and software for management and networking, Bodeman said.

On the server side, HP offers its new Integrity BL60p Itanium 2-based blade model. With it, HP becomes the second server vendor after IBM to allow Windows, Linux and Unix server blades to be mixed in a single enclosure.The BL60p blades come with one or two Itanium 2 1.66MHz processors and up to 8 Gbytes of memory per unit. Customers can fit up to six blades in a single 6U cage, intermixed with HP’s ProLiant Xeon-based or Opteron-based models.

The BL60p is expected to start shipping in late December or early January. Pricing begins at $5,695 for a base model with one processor, one HP-UX license, two Fibre Channel and four Gbit Ethernet ports, and 1 Gbyte of memory.

Solution providers said they are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the PC blades.

“We already support so many solutions with central management like Citrix and VMware. Blade PCs are not our first sell,” said Kevin Kelly, vice president of Agile360, an Irvine, Calif.-based HP solution provider.

Dhruv Gulati, executive vice president at Lilien Systems, an HP partner based in Mill Valley, Calif., said his company will also just watch the PC blade market for now.Gulati did say, however, that HP’s new server blades will excite customers because of the ability to mix and match Itanium, IA-32 and AMD processors in one enclosure.

What’s more, said Gulati, it’s no longer necessary to evangelize the benefits of blades. “As more enabling technology comes into play to virtualize a data center environment, it helps drive the business.”

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