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HP and Microsoft trumpet blade marriage

Greasing the server skids

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Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft are greasing the skids a bit, hoping to pull in some medium and large businesses looking for new systems and software. The two companies have teamed up to offer so-called "solution block" bundles that pair HP BladeSystem machinery with Microsoft systems and application software.

HP has been configuring this sort of solution block for awhile, marrying its BladeSystem Itanium-based servers to Oracle and SAP ERP suites and bundling BEA and IBM middleware on Integrity blades (BEA's stack is now owned by Oracle). A bundle for large manufacturers that runs Siemens' Teamcenter product data management application is also available.

For midrange shops, there are bundles for Sage's SalesLogix CRM suite as well as for SAP's Business All-in-One ERP software and Oracle's E-Business or Enterprise One (JDE) suites. HP has also worked with Platform Computing and a number of supercomputer application software makers to create a number of HPC bundles.

This week, Microsoft is getting a boost from the BladeSystem bundles. The two companies have cooked up bundles for Microsoft's Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX ERP suites as well as for raw SQL Server databases and even for supercomputing clusters running on HP iron and using Windows Server 2008 Computer Cluster Server.

There's another set of bundles for Exchange Server 2007, Office SharePoint Server, Office Communications Server 2007, and a stack of application virtualization software (what we used to call Presentation Server and server-hosted Windows applications).

The HP-Microsoft bundles, as well as the existing ones running on HP-UX or Windows done with other vendors, are available on the c3000 "Shorty" office-style blade chassis or the rackable and larger c7000 chassis. The blades used in the bundle depend on the targeted customer and the needs of the application software, and they include both Itanium and x64 blades.

No word from HP on what discounts are available on the solution blocks, but bundling should always mean discounts, and in this economic environment, prospective customers are well advised to shop around the channel as well as going directly to HP to see who will give the best deal beyond the built-in bundling discount.

In a separate but related announcement, HP said this week that it is now able to configure the low-end Windows Small Business Server 2008 (which includes a stack of Windows, SQL Server, Exchange Server, and a bunch of other applications suitable for small businesses) as well as Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (which is aimed at midrange customers) on its ProLiant line of rack, tower, and blade servers.

SBS has been around for years, but EBS launched last November. It bundles up a mix of Microsoft systems software that is licensed to run across multiple physical servers and supporting up to 300 users. EBS therefore costs more. SBS is licensed for just one physical machine and comes in two flavors, a standard edition that costs $1,089 and a premium edition that costs $1,899. Those editions include client access licenses (CALs) for five users, and additional users cost $77 a pop.

Windows EBS 2008 also comes in two flavors: a standard edition that lists for $5,067 and a premium edition that costs $6,188. End user client access licenses cost $81 each for EBS. All those prices include a year of tech support. ®

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