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HP crosses blades with IBM

Not so much a Cold War, more a Cooling War

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The server performance battle has shifted to power dissipation. HP now claims not that its latest blade servers run database benchmarks or whatever faster than IBM, but that they put out less heat and require less airflow, thanks to "zoned cooling" and "thermal logic".

The company is also touting numbers from market researcher IDC, which it says show it is now number one in the world-wide bladeserver market and has over 50 percent share in UK & Ireland specifically.

HP has published a report - which it appears to have funded - by a US analyst group called Sine Nomine. The report compared HP's BladeSystem c-Class with the similar BladeCentre-H from IBM and found that the HP version consumed up to 27 percent less power.

Sine Nomine also looked at the power consumption of stand-alone 1U Xeon-based servers from Dell and IBM, reporting that the blades were less power hungry per server than the 1U boxes. That's not too surprising, given that blade processors share other system components, whereas each 1U box must have its own power supplies, network adaptor and so on.

The thermal researchers noted that the HP and IBM blades used about the same power per server in lower configurations, but HP took the lead at higher blade densities and when the systems under test had more memory installed. They said HP's Thermal Logic feature throttled the fans back when less airflow was needed, saving as much as 75VA per system.

HP said its advantage is down to optimisation of both the power distribution and airflow within the box, using ducted fans and tighter air seals. The Sine Nomine report added, unlike IBM's, the HP blades didn't need power-hungry expansion boards in order to add more memory and support hot-plug disks.®

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