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HP brings live migration to HP-UX Unix

Slashes prices for new Tukwila Itaniums

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While HP didn't say anything about it, the company slipped out is biannual update to its HP-UX Unix variant in March, which was announced this week along with servers using the new "Tukwila" Itanium 9300 servers from Intel.

Of all the features that HP announced for the sixth HP-UX 11i v3 update, the one that is most important and that HP's top brass did not discuss in briefings with El Reg is a big cut in HP-UX prices - but only for the new Tukwila iron.

HP-UX 11i v3, which was announced in 2007, was updated in the March release (which has no funny code name or dot-release designation) to include support for the quad-core Tukwila Itaniums. The Tukwilas sport the QuickPath Interconnect and make use of the "Boxboro" chipset from Intel in the Integrity BL860c i2, BL870c i2, and BL890c i2 blade servers that started shipping this week. (The rx2800 i2 rack server and high-end Superdome 2 bladed server will not ship until the second half of the year.)

Two years ago, when HP changed the packaging and pricing on HP-UX 11i v3, it didn't give out pricing. But I eventually managed to get HP's online configurators to give me most of the data a few months later, so HP relented and spilled the beans on per-core HP-UX pricing. According to the HP-UX 11iv3 site that HP put up in the wake of the Tukwila server announcements, the company is shifting from per core to per socket pricing on the new Tukwila BL blade servers.

HP has not divulged the revised pricing, as before, but in a press release announcing the March 2010 update (formerly known as Update 6 but now using a month-year naming scheme), HP said that list prices for the March 2010 update on the Integrity BL series blades would start at $1,050 per socket, "representing up to a 50 per cent software price reduction per core."

The Base Operating Environment (OE) bundle of HP-UX 11i v3 was pretty cheap on the prior BL860c blades, which have two dual-core Itanium 9100 processors, at a price of $225 per core. The Virtual Server OE, which includes Integrity VMs and vPar partitions, cost a lot more, at $4,420 per core. On the four-socket, double-wide BL870c blade using these older Itanium 9100 chips, HP-UX Base OE cost $995 per socket and Virtual Server OE cost $5,100 per socket.

The High Availability OE, which includes clustering, cost a bit more and the Data Center OE, which has clustering and virtualization wrapped together, cost between $8,120 and $11,130 per core, depending in the Integrity machine.

If HP is going to double up the performance of the Integrity lineup and cut HP-UX license fees in half across the board, that means the extra hardware bang will not cost extra software-stack bucks. Twice the performance will have essentially the same software price. That probably keeps HP in the Unix hunt - provided the reduced per-core pricing applies equally well to the rx2800 i2 and Superdome 2 machines that have yet to ship, and across all of the four OE bundles for the operating system in a more or less equal fashion. El Reg is attempting to get the detailed HP-UX pricing to figure out if this is the case.

Aside from the support of the Tukwila iron and the price cut for software licenses on those new machines, the other big change with the March 2010 update of HP-UX 11i v3 is that Integrity Virtual Machines 4.2, HP's homegrown virtual machine hypervisor for Itanium iron, has live migration, allowing for the teleportation of running virtual machines and their workloads between hardware partitions on a single box or from one physical server to another.

The March 2010 update of HP-UX also integrates with HP's Insight Control power management and Insight Dynamics Infrastructure Orchestration tools, key features of its BladeSystem Matrix cloud-in-a-box stack announced a year ago on ProLiant machines. HP said this week that it will later this year deliver a BladeSystem Matrix setup based on the new Integrity Tukwila blades and HP-UX, so it will be HP from top to bottom. The ProLiant Matrix setup runs Linux or Windows, neither of which HP owns. Yet. ®

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