HP launches hyperscale Cloudline servers, aims for white box market

HP launched a family of servers with minimalist designs as a result of its partnership with Foxconn.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday launched a new set of servers designed for hyperscale cloud providers, who prefer white box gear. The server family, called Cloudline, is the result of a joint venture with Hon Hai's Foxconn.

CEO Meg Whitman alluded to the Foxconn partnership during HP's first quarter earnings conference call. Whitman said that HP is looking to partner and play in the market for servers from original design manufacturers. So-called ODM servers are moving up the market share charts.

Previously: Do server vendors have an answer for the white box trend?

HP announced Cloudline at the Open Compute Summit. What HP is trying to do is thread the needle between offering ODM servers and surrounding them with support and scale.

Cloudline is also an acknowledgement that enterprises may ultimately become interested in the perks of ODM servers. Cloudline systems use open software and hardware designs and can plug into OpenStack and multi-vendor shops.

According to HP, Cloudline is built to cloud-scale deployments and service providers as well as OpenStack. The use cases for Cloudline revolve around web servers, content delivery and big data. The trick for HP is walking the line between minimal bare-iron design and the urge to load the boxes up.

HP soft launched Cloudline rack servers at its Discover trade show last year. HP and Foxconn have been partners for about 11 months, but Cloudline as a brand is just being publicly unveiled. "Cloudline is a different design point," said John Gromala, senior director of hyperscale product marketing. "We're creating a design that's for larger scale data centers and built on open standards. There's a lot of alignment with open compute with the features. There's also a need for the most features at lowest cost."

Gromala said that HP isn't concerned with cannibalization of the company's existing server portfolio. Cloudline is for hyperscale deployments and probably wouldn't be used for mission critical applications that need more redundancy on both hardware and software. For instance, HP's Proliant servers have more redundancy and serve a different architecture. "Cloudline is for data centers willing to trade off capabilities and components for costs," said Gromala.

As for pricing, the Cloudline servers are likely to be anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent less expensive than HP's standard servers. The revenue split between HP and Foxconn isn't disclosed.

The Cloudline lineup includes:

  • CL7300, a 2P server sled for memory and storage-rich compute applications.
  • CL7100, a 2P server sled for memory and storage-rich compute applications.
  • CL2200, a high-capacity, low-cost 2U 2P server for big data and storage intensive cloud applications.
  • CL2100, a multipurpose 1U 2P server for memory and storage-rich compute applications.
  • CL1100, a low-cost 1U 2P server made to deliver efficient front-end web performance.

The servers will be available for direct sales March 30.

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