HP delivers Istanbul-powered servers

The seven ProLiants built on AMD's new six-core Opteron chip come with heat- and power-management functions designed to drive down energy consumption
Written by Sally Whittle, Contributor

HP has launched seven ProLiant servers based on AMD's new six-core Istanbul chips.

On Wednesday, the company introduced four rack servers (ProLiant DL785, DL585, DL385 and DL165) and three blade servers (ProLiant BL465, BL495c and BL685c) powered by the Opteron processors.

The machines incorporate features designed to improve energy efficiency and performance, HP said. One such feature is dynamic power capping, which allows organisations to limit the amount of power drawn to servers at specific times.

In addition, each server has 32 sensors that monitor the heat it is generating and can adjust fans as needed. HP said the servers can reduce power consumption in the datacentre by as much as 50 percent, as well as providing a 30 percent performance boost, compared with servers using previous generations of Opteron processors.

HP said that the new servers offer four-in-one efficiency over traditional servers, with a nine percent performance per watt and 31 percent power efficiency improvement over competing rack servers.

"This type of technology could actually have a huge impact on smaller businesses that are looking at consolidation and virtualisation for perhaps the first time," said Julian Keetch, product manager for HP's ISS portfolio. "This is probably the first time this sort of functionality has been available from the SMB right the way up to the datacentre."

This technology was previously only available in HP's blade servers, said Nathaniel Martinez, a programme director at research firm IDC. He added that it puts HP ahead of the market — even if only briefly.

"I'd expect to see the other server vendors following suit within weeks. I think the new Opteron processor is compelling for organisations looking to virtualisation and consolidation, since it offers slightly better memory performance than comparable Intel chips," Martinez said.

The timing of the announcement is hugely important to AMD, since HP is the single largest manufacturer using AMD processors, said Errol Rasit, a senior analyst with Gartner Group.

"HP accounts for 38.8 percent of AMD server shipments, so it's important for AMD that the company is seen to be supporting its future roadmap," said Rasit. "That's probably more important than the technology improvement, which won't be hugely apparent to most customers, until software applications are fully optimised to work with these new processors."

HP's announcement follows the launch of the Cray XT5 and Xt5m supercomputers on Monday. The Cray computers both use the AMD six-core Opteron processor and feature 12 cores per computational mode.

The new range of ProLiant G6 servers using the Istanbul processors are available worldwide, with pricing from £1,195 to £12,099 in the UK.

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