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HP Expands Proliant Line; Adds More Data Center Innovations

HP is using its annual TechForum conference in Las Vegas this week to say it is placing huge bets on adding new high-performance ProLiant blade servers and technology it calls the HP BladeSystem Matrix, a platform that allows customers to quickly create and provision infrastructure to run software applications. HP is introducing new technology Monday to further its Converged Infrastructure strategy of selling servers along with improved networking and management tools to boost data center efficiency.

The ProLiant G7 line adds new 500 and 600 series blade models that include 1TB of internal memory and a 900 series blade with 2TBs of memory, all designed for high-performance computing environments. A rack of 16 1TB ProLiant Blades could store all the content in the Library of Congress, said Gary Thome, chief architect of infrastructure software and blades in HP's business enterprise unit.

The blades, pricing for which starts at $2,799, also come with Virtual Connect Flex Fabric technology, which allows data center operators to use just two devices to connect servers to multiple networks simultaneously, whether they use iSCSI, Fibre Channel or Ethernet connectivity protocols. "We go from over 200 things that you need to connect up to a network environment down to two," Thome said.

The seven new blade models, along with three new ProLiant x86 servers, also offer an Intelligent Power Discovery feature for more efficient electrical distribution and management in a data center.  "You could plug a server into an energy-aware fabric and automatically know how much power that server uses, where it is located, what it's doing and how much it pulls from the system," said Jim Ganthier, vice president of marketing for HP's industry standard server products. The additions to the ProLiant line and the various system management tools are targeted at the "the most data-intensive demanding applications and workloads out there," Ganthier said, including for enterprises developing their own private clouds.

HP holds a 56.1 share of the blade server market and a 39.2 percent share of the x86 server market, according to IDC research for the first quarter of 2010.

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