HP unveils first S'pore designed server

Company launches new entry-level Integrity server, designed and developed in Singapore.

SINGAPORE--Hewlett-Packard today announced a new entry-level server for the global market that it said is the company's first server to be completely developed in the island-state.

Dubbed the HP Integrity rx2660 Server, the system is touted as the company's first server to be "researched, designed and developed" by a research and development (R&D) team based in the IT giant's Singapore server lab.

According to Wong Soon Yee, R&D manager at HP Singapore's Integrity Server R&D Center, the project took less than a year from conception to complete.

The lab was established in June 2005 with a US$12 million investment that includes funding from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), and is an extension of the vendor's server R&D work in Roseville, California, Wong told ZDNet Asia in a phone interview.

HP's line of Integrity servers were typically researched and developed in Roseville, he said, adding that the Singapore facility is HP's only other design site--apart from the U.S. lab--that conducts Itanium server design for worldwide distribution.

Ko Kheng Hwa, managing director at the EDB, said in a statement: "The Singapore Integrity Server R&D laboratory is significant as it is HP's first in Asia, and builds on its extensive base of R&D, manufacturing and supply chain activities already [carried out] here."

Targeted primarily at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the rx2660 is immediately available globally from HP's channel partners. The server is priced from under S$10,000 (US$6,480) at basic configuration, said Hou Wei Kai, business director of business critical systems at HP Singapore.

While the Integrity server is aimed at SMB customers, Hou added that larger enterprises will find appeal in the server's price-performance benefit.

The rx2660 is a two-socket server consisting of two processors and four cores, and is based on the zx2 chipset developed by HP, as well as the dual-core Montecito (Dual Core Intel Itanium2) processor from Intel.

In addition, the rx2660 provides customers with "significant expanded computing capabilities", according to HP, including a memory footprint of 32GB and internal storage capacity of up to eight internal drives. The storage drives are available from half a terabyte, expandable to 1.2TB.

Location matters
According to Wong, HP chose to locate the R&D site in Singapore due to several factors, including support from the Singapore government, proximity to markets in the region, as well as a pool of readily available technical workforce.

Singapore shares the same time zone as manufacturers in China and Taiwan, where there is a huge server industry, he said. "[This] allows designers here to easily pick up the phone to clarify design and technical issues very quickly, compared to working across [different] time zones," Wong said.

With the exception of a manager from the Roseville R&D center, he said the Singapore-based team consists of 17 employees which include engineers and specialists from the region, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, India and Philippines. The team develops the designs and specifications for the server's electronics, mechanical chassis and infrastructure and system firmware.

Tan Yen Yen, managing director at HP Singapore, said in a statement: "Singapore has a pool of engineering talent to draw from in forming the team. Locating the R&D facility near the existing server manufacturing site in Singapore also meant that we can leverage current supply chain expertise, improve the quality of product assembly and enhance design process efficiencies."

In addition, Hou said that designing the server in Singapore has helped lower the cost of the rx2660. "One of the reasons for bringing the design of entry-level servers to Asia is also to drive the cost of the [product] down as low as possible," he said. "There are significant cost-savings that we are able to achieve."

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