HP crams massively multi-core chips into Big Data servers

Summary:HP is attempting to meet the the demands of big data by offering a server that combines advanced multicore chips from Intel and Nvidia with large storage capabilities.

Hewlett-Packard is harnessing the brains of massively multicore chips from Intel and Nvidia to power a server designed to work with Big Data applications. 

The purpose-built ProLiant SL 4500 server crams more storage into the box than its rivals. By using either Xeon Phi or Nvidia Kepler processors, the server will help customers to handle vast amounts of data, HP said in a statement. 

The SL400 servers combine multicore processors with large amounts of storage. Image: HP

Servers used by the enterprise currently have the ability to store several terabytes when linked together, HP's new server can handle workloads in the petabyte data range, HP said. 

"It's very highly dense storage box which has the ability to house up to three server nodes within it makes it special," HP product manager for UK and Ireland, Julian Keetch.

Each SL4500 can use Intel's E52400 or AMD's 4200 processors. These can then be linked to either Intel's upcoming massively multicore Xeon Phi coprocessor or Nvidia's supercomputer-friendly Kepler GPUs to process large quantities of data. 

At the time of writing HP was not able to give specific dates for when the Xeon Phi chips would become available for SL4500 customers. 

Enhanced storage

The advanced processing capabilities of the Xeon Phi or Nvidia chips are supported by an upgrade to the server's storage capacity above-and-beyond gear made by rivals IBM and Dell. 

"It's very highly dense storage box which has the ability to house up to three server nodes within it makes it special," said HP product manager for UK and Ireland, Julian Keetch.

The server can store up to 240 terabytes in a single 4.3-rack-unit chassis, or 2.16 petabytes with nine servers in an industry-standard 42-U rack.

For perspective, Dell's top of the range PowerEdge T620 only offers 36TB of internal storage.

The server supports SAS, SATA and SSD (solid state) drives. Each processor is paired with an HP Smart Array p420 controller to help move the data around. 

The server "has the flexibility to reach the ideal core-to-spindle ration that applications, such as Hadoop, desire," Keetch said. 

HP highlighted that the server series is compatible with multiple Apache Hadoop vendors including Cloudera and Hortonworks. Along with this it supports many cloud-friendly technologies, such as the open source OpenStack cloud management software and the MongoDB NoSQL database.

The server will be available in three different versions, with the initial one and two node versions going on sale on 4 December, from €5925.

Topics: Storage, Data Centers, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Servers, United Kingdom


Sam is generally at his happiest with a new piece of technology in his hands or nailing down an exclusive story. In the past he's written for The Engineer and the Daily Mail, covering emerging technology in electronics, energy, defence, materials, aerospace, automotive and healthcare. These days, Sam is particularly interested in emerging... Full Bio

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