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HP ProLiant Serves Up Entry-Level, Vendor-Ecosystem News

Barely two months after officially announcing the first seven models of the ProLiant Generation 8 x86-based servers, HP is continuing the Gen8 refresh with entry-level, rack, tower and blade offerings from AMD and Intel, and a vendor ecosystem that initially consists of 18 members, including Broadcom, Emulex and Seagate.

Stemming from the company's Project Voyager initiative--two years of R&D, a $300 million investment, and more than 900 patents—the next-generation servers are intended to "redefine the expectations and economics of the data center," including tripling administrator productivity and delivering a return on investment in as little as five months.

The latest offerings include servers based on AMD Opteron 6200 Series, Intel Xeon E5-2400 and E5-4600 processors, as well as optional HP PCIe Gen2 IO Accelerators to reduce data access latency and deliver accelerated application performance and improved compute cycles. The rack and tower servers, and a new blade server with the E5-2400 family, will enable HP to extend its market from the enterprise down to SMBs, says John Gromala, HP's director of product marketing, industry standard servers and software.

There's now one set of offerings from end to end, says Gromala: "It's a great opportunity for us to take these great capabilities and bring them to a broader set of customers with midmarket offerings."

In March HP said the Gen8 servers had been tested in more than 100 data centers by customers including Alcatel-Lucent, British Telecom, Nth Generation Computing and Purdue University. While Gromala wouldn't give specific shipment numbers, the company is reporting that it has delivered the new servers to thousands of new clients, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, JPMorgan Chase, and Raytheon.

While being formally unveiled this week, the HP ProActive Insight Architecture Alliance has been in the works for some time, says Gromala. Focused on maximizing the built-in intelligence of the new servers, members include providers in the memory, storage, I/O, power and infrastructure segments. Current members are Broadcom (Ethernet), Delta Electronics (switching power supplies), Emulex (I/O connectivity), Fusion-io (I/O accelerators), HGST (hard drives), Mellanox (InfiniBand solutions), Qlogic (adapters), Rittal (intelligent racks), Samsung (solid-state drives), SanDisk (SSDs), Seagate (drives), SK Hynix (memory), Toshiba Storage Products Business Unit (storage), as well as Flextronics, Lite-On Technology, Micron, Smart Modular Technologies and WD.

There are six models in this announcement. The DL360e is a rack-optimized one-rack unit (1U) server targeted at small, midsize and enterprise organizations, while the rack-optimized two-rack unit (2U) DL380e Gen8 provides improved compute and storage capacity for data center applications. The ML350e is an expandable two-processor tower for remote and branch office environments, while the BL420c blade server reportedly offers enhanced manageability for applications requiring high availability and performance for midmarket and cost-sensitive enterprise customers. The two AMD-based offerings are the DL385p, a 2U performance-based rack server designed for virtualization, database and high-performance computing workloads, and the BL465c, the first server blade with 2,000 cores per rack for virtualization, database and high-performance workloads.

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