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HP Brandishes Blades

HP fired a shot across the bow of blade leader IBM today with the launch of its new c-Class family of products, which the vendor is touting as way for users to combine server, storage, and even high-performance computing in a single box. (See HP Unveils Blade Design.)

At the heart of the c-Class is a new 10U-high chassis. This chassis, according to HP execs on a conference call this morning, can support a range of HP blades, from new ProLiant offerings to storage blades. Ultimately, the platform will also support blades based on the vendor's high-end Superdome and NonStop server technologies.

Throughout today's event, HP execs kept describing the new technology as an "adaptive infrastructure in a 17-inch box," a mantra designed to tie the announcement to the vendor's Adaptive Enterprise strategy. (See HP Gets Virtual.) That loosely defined initiative is meant to be the launch pad for a range of products and services similar to those from IBM.

Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP's Technology Solutions Group, threw her arms around the box at this morning's conference, declaring, "I love this product." Compared to traditional rack mounted systems users could save 50 percent in purchase and acquisition costs over a three-year period.

Paul Miller and Mark Potter, vice presidents of HP's BladeSystem division, jointly touted the scalability of the new blade system. Unlike IBM's recently launched 9U-high BladeCenter H system, which supports 14 blade servers, the c-Class can handle up to 16 servers. (See IBM Sharpens SMB Blades and IBM Goes for SMB Blades.)

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