HP tailors virtual appliance to Microsoft Hyper-V

In a sign of Hyper-V's growing popularity, HP has brought out an appliance for Microsoft's hypervisor along with an appliance for Itanium-based Superdome applications
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

HP is bringing out its first hardware-and-software appliance tweaked specifically for virtualised Microsoft applications.

The company launched HP VirtualSystem for Microsoft on Tuesday, announcing at the same time that it plans to release HP VirtualSystem for Superdome 2/HP-UX, its Itanium-based range of servers, in November. Both virtualisation appliances fit within HP's strategy of building products that require little installation, support and management, according to HP.

This converged system approach "is where the industry is moving, this is not just HP", said Gurprit Singh, the company's chief technology officer for technology services consulting in the UK. "These new systems are a strong foundation to build highly flexible, highly scalable solutions. There are significant savings to be had in terms of consolidation."

The Microsoft system has been co-engineered by HP and Microsoft, and it can scale to 6,000 virtual machines per appliance. It is meant for consolidating workloads from applications such as Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange and SQL Server. Like HP's VirtualSystem for VMware, it is a hypervisor-specific virtualisation appliance, as it is based on Microsoft's Windows Server Hyper-V.

In addition to Hyper-V, its software consists of Microsoft System Centre, HP Insights and HP Converged Infrastructure software. Its hardware is the same as that used in the CloudSystem appliance — ProLiant or BladeSystem servers along with HP FlexFabric networking and HP P4000 or 3Par storage.

As with other VirtualSystems, the Microsoft appliance is being targeted at midsize and large businesses. However, it is also being pitched at small companies, putting it into competition with Dell's vStart appliances, which can support as few as 100 virtual machines. 

"It comes in a number of different varieties, and v1 [version one] offers similar scalability to the Dell appliance," Gurprit said. "The advantage is we can scale much higher, and we can support a number of different hypervisors — it's not just VMware. We can support Microsoft Hyper-V."

The HP VirtualSystem for Microsoft has a rough price of $175,000 (£111,700), excluding Microsoft software. The company was unable to provide pricing for HP VirtualSystem for Superdome, which is designed to run customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning and financial applications.

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