HP chooses thin-client key for virtualization

The company announces new products with virtualization and thin clients as well as closer links with Citrix virtualization software.

HP on Tuesday launched a wide-range of virtualization products, including new hardware, such as a blade server, and software.

The company said it sees virtualization as a wide-open territory, and pointed to its global research conducted in August by Penn, Schoen & Berland. The survey showed that while 86 percent of 'technology decision makers' have implemented virtualization projects, the vast majority of respondents expected to have virtualized just 25 percent of their technology environments by 2010.

The hardware products announced include the new ProLiant BL495c blade server, four new thin-client systems (the HP t5630, t5545, t5540 and t5145).

The software launch includes a new HP Virtual Desktop Infrastructure with Citrix XenDesktop, which is "designed to enable everything from smaller, entry-level implementations to enterprise-wide desktop delivery", the company said. Citrix XenDesktop allows businesses to create virtual desktops centrally and then distribute them wherever they are needed.

HP is leaning heavily on its partnership with Citrix in its new virtualization push. Asked to comment on this emphasis, HP's business-development manager for virtualization, Peter Mansell, said: "Citrix is one of the many products that we are supporting with this announcement."

The ProLiant BL495c was described by HP as the "world's first server blade designed specifically to host virtual machines". Asked to justify that billing, Mansell said that as memory is absolutely crucial to the efficient running of blades, there are now 16 memory slots on the blade where there used to be eight. In addition, the blade can run on 10Gb Ethernet for speed, he said.

HP's blades also can now support 32GB or 64GB solid-state drives to help with efficient running, Mansell said.

"Virtualization is a powerful step in transforming IT," said Ann Livermore, executive vice president at HP, in a statement. "To do it right means successfully managing and automating mixed physical and virtual environments."

In addition, HP's Network Node Manager i-series has been updated to monitor the performance and availability of networks supporting dynamic, virtualized environments. HP Asset Manager has been extended to allow managers to identify and manage virtual machine assets as well as physical assets.

Also updated is HP StorageWorks 4400 Scalable NAS File Services, which now integrates HP StorageWorks 4400 Enterprise Virtual Array, file servers, management software and Microsoft Windows or Linux support to virtualize the connection between servers and storage, HP said.

HP has a new development agreement with Linux provider Red Hat aimed at simplifying the monitoring and management of virtualized environments, the company said.

The company has not yet launched the new products officially, Mansell explained. The full announcement will be on 15 September and details of the new products should emerge after that, he said.