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HP launches siamese-twin server blade

Because two CPUs are denser than one

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Hewlett-Packard has devised a siamese-twin CPU server blade for those monstrous data centers with nowhere to spread out.

HP pitches its new ProLiant BL2x220c G5 as the first blade with two independent servers combined into a single blade enclosure. The twofer is intended for large "scale-out" operations that require massive computing power, but have limited floor space or don't want to pony up to build a new site. That covers the entire Web 2.0, cloud, and high performance computing (HPC) racket by HP's estimations.

The server blade uses two Intel Xeon 5400 series quad core chips, or two Intel Xeon 5200 series Dual cores. Each enclosure hosts 8GB memory (4GB per server) standard and a maximum of 16GB RAM. Each server node has internal drive support for a 2.5" 120GB SATA drive.

With two servers per slot, it fits up to 32 server nodes per HP BladeSystem c7000 enclosure or 16 per c3000 enclosure. It scales up to 128 servers, so HP muses that means 1,024 CPU cores and two terabytes of RAM in a single 42U rack. We'll oblige the math since it is, in fact, pretty darn dense.

On the power consumption side, HP claims the blade server has 60 per cent better performance per watt than a cluster of Dell PowerEdge M600 servers.

Features include change-ready connectivity through dual Gigabit Ethernet network interface cards and HP Virtual Connect. There's also optional x8 PCI-Express mezzanine socket supporting 4x double data rate InfiniBand fabric for low latency and high bandwidth.

The HP ProLiant BL2x220c G5 is available now starting at a US price of $6,349.

So according to Mark Potter, veep of HP's BladeSystem operations, the new blade server is great for data centers with limited space. And speaking of limited space — where's HP in this whole data center in a shipping container brouhaha? We've seen Sun, Dell, IBM and Rackable in the game. Where for art thou, Aitch Pee?

"You can expect HP will have an industry leading roadmap," said Potter. "A couple of weeks ago we launched the StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage system — and this announcement is a part of that rolling thunder. Stay tuned, you'll see a lot more."

Ok, well that doesn't exactly...

"I wish I could tell you more," said Potter.

Fine. There you have it folks. ®

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