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HP launches virtualization armada

Server, storage, desktops, research, ho!

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Hewlett-Packard is launching a fleet of virtualization products today, including four new thin-client PCs, a StorageWorks virtualization blade, an enterprise storage package, updates to HP-UX, and plenty of service offerings.

Plus, the hardware vendor is backing this virtualization push with some research. A recent survey claims while 86 per cent of technology decision makers are using virtualization products, most expect to have virtualized only 25 per cent of their environments by 2010.

That's clearly too slow for HP's liking, so it figures the medicine needed is more merchandise. And so we approach today's bunch:

Storage and blade

HP says hosting heaps of virtual machines on fewer blades was specifically what it had in mind when it made the new ProLiant BL495c virtualization blade. That's mostly accomplished by an ability to stuff generous portions of memory and network connects into it. Specifically, up to 128GB of 667MHz DDR2 memory fits into the blade's 16 DIMM slots. The BL495c also sports a built-in 10GB ethernet network and can host up to 8 network interface cards per blade. It runs on up to two quad-core AMD Opteron 2300 series processors.

The BL495c should roll out on September 15, with a price starting at $2,449.

Also in heavy metal, HP announced the StorageWorks 4400 Scalable NAS File Services, made to virtualize the connection between servers and storage. It's a bundle that includes a StorageWorks 4400 Enterprise Virtual Array (with dual array controllers and 4.8TB storage), three file serving nodes, management and replication software, and support for Linux and Windows.

The StorageWorks 4400 Sc - let's just call it the SW4.4kSNFS - launches in the fourth quarter of 2008. List price for the Windows File Services version is $94,270 and the Linux version is $97,630.

Thin-client-o-rama

HP will launch four thin-client PCs in October. The new lineup is composed of two that run HP's own ThinConnect operating system, one with Windows CE, and one with Windows XP Embedded.

By the way, HP makes an odd to-do about those machines being durable and covered in "HP DuraFinish," a material that shields against the "normal wear and tear" that, uh, plagues desktop PCs (apparently).

The vendor also said its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) software and blade PCs now support Citrix's XenDesktop software.

HP-UX refresh and new services

HP also made some virtualization-focused updates to its Unix operating system.

HP-UX 11iv3 adds several new tools that add performance, management, automated optimization, and better protection. A full list of the tweaks can be found here (PDF warning).

Far less glamorous is the addition of some new services aimed at helping customers "realize the full benefits of virtualization products."

These include HP Virtualization Accelerator Services (they'll help you buys virtualization-friendly gear); Virtual Server Environment Solution (tutor your company on the HP VSE suite); High Performance Computing Cluster Management Solution Service (planning, configuration, validation, and lessons on UNIX-based HPC clusters); and frankly, a whole lot more. Details here (another PDF). ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

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