Feeds

HP forges 32-socket Itanium iron

Beyond Superdome

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Superdome silence

HP has been pretty vague about when to expect the SD2-32s machine, and it doesn't want to talk about the SD2-64s box at all. "We expect to start shipping in the summer of this year," Bresniker tells El Reg, referring to the 32-socket Superdome 2 machine.

Bresniker was not at liberty to talk about the SD2-64s top-end Superdome 2 machine, but Lorraine Bartlett, vice president of worldwide marketing, strategy, and operations for the BCS unit at HP, said that the release of the Poulson Itaniums in 2012 would be "an interesting data point". That implies, but does not confirm, that HP is waiting until the Poulsons are out to ship the biggest machine, which would allow it to field a 512-core machine using the eight-core Poulson chips. Or to get 256 cores into the field with an SD2-32s. Go figure.

No matter what HP does and does not say publicly, it is showing customers that a 64-socket box is in the works. Such as in this description of the Superdome 2 machines:

HP Superdome 2 Systems

HP's Superdome 2 systems lineup (click to enlarge)

The SD2-64s machine uses the sx3000 chipset and the five QPI links in the Tukwila and Poulson Itaniums to lash four chassis of eight-blade server nodes together to make a single system image with up to 8TB of main memory using 8GB DDR3 main memory sticks. Some of the QPI is eaten up linking the extra CPUs together, so the SD2-32s and SD2-64s machine top out at 96 external I/O slots, which is what the SD2-16s has. The big Superdome 2 machine has 192 PCI-Express slots and 128 10 GE ports, which is a lot of I/O connectivity.

That said, the Power 795 from IBM has 640 PCI-Express slots, and the M9000 from Oracle and Fujitsu has 288 slots. HP's Superdome 2 machines are heavy on the integrated 10GE networking and lighter on the peripheral slots, which is probably sensible in a converged world for networking for servers and storage.

One more thing that may not be obvious. While HP talks about how the Integrity product line supports its HP-UX as well as its OpenVMS and NonStop operating systems, the latter only run on specific machines. You cannot slap OpenVMS 8.4, the most current release, on just any Integrity machine, and in fact, it is only supported on the BL8X0 i2 blades.

Bresniker tells El Reg that OpenVMS 8.4 will span across all of the four blades in the most recent Tukwila blade servers, delivering 32-core scalability, and that customers who need more scalability than that can do VAXclusters lashing multiple blade boxes together. Clearly, OpenVMS does not know how to speak to the sx3000 chipset and hence cannot run on the Superdome 2 machine.

"Most OpenVMS customers do not need the scalability of a Superdome 2," says Bresniker. "Having the scalability to eight sockets on the blades is sufficient for their needs."

The same thing holds true of most of IBM's customers using the OS/400 (now known as IBM i) operating system. The vast majority of customers using this proprietary platform run on two-socket or four-socket boxes, with a small minority needing oomph beyond that. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.