HP upgrades ProLiant servers; Touts automation, power savings software

Hewlett-Packard refreshed its ProLiant server line with the latest Intel Xeon processors as well as automation and energy management technologies.

Hewlett-Packard on Monday refreshed its ProLiant server line with the latest Intel Xeon processors as well as automation and energy management technologies.

HP's ProLiant refresh, the largest blade system overhaul since 2006, covers 10 systems. In some respects, HP's latest ProLiants are designed to catch up with Dell, which launched new Xeon-powered PowerEdge servers at the end of March. The bigger picture for HP is that its ProLiant G7s are designed to be building blocks for its converged infrastructure vision and carry automation and power management technologies along with its blade servers.

At the end of March, HP announced new ProLiants powered by AMD's Opteron processors. The second installment of the refresh comes as HP's TechForum 2010 kicks off in Las Vegas. Now HP's ProLiant G7 portfolio is powered by AMD Opteron 6100 series and Intel Xeon 5600 and 7500 processors.

Gary Thome, chief architect of infrastructure software and blades for HP's enterprise business, said the goal of the blade refresh is to make it easier to connect to networks and storage as well as "automate and simplify a lot of the physical stuff" by eliminating cable, switches and adapters.

Among the key highlights:

  • The G7 ProLiants promise a data center consolidation ratio of 91:1.
  • Better energy efficiency via its automated management software such as HP's new Integrated Lights Out, Intelligent Power Discovery and HP Insight Control applications.
  • HP's Virtual Connect FlexFabric virtualization and automation software.
  • Servers include HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric 10Gb/24-Port module that connects to any Fibre Channel, Ethernet and iSCSI network with one device instead of a bevy of interconnects.
  • The company said that its HP ProLiant BL680c G7 supports up to three times more virtual machines per blade server and requires 73 percent less hardware per 1,000 virtual machines.
  • Tools to better manage, isolate, quarantine and change out virtual machines.

As for availability, the HP ProLiant DL580 and DL585 G7 rack-optimized servers and the HP ProLiant BL465c and BL685c G7 blade servers are now available. The HP ProLiant DL980, BL2x220, BL460c, BL490c, BL620c and BL680c G7 servers will be available "in the coming months." Pricing starts at $2,279.

Related: HP upgrades Integrity servers, Superdome system, adds another piece to data center puzzle

Along with the server upgrades, HP will roll out its Intelligent Power Discovery management technology. The aim here is to use sensors to detect and eliminate wasted energy in the data center. HP's latest servers will provide reports to a dashboard application that can give a view of a data center's power consumption.

From the Intelligent Power Discovery technology, data center admins can automate and manage power. However, HP will need sensors in other data center gear to provide a complete picture. HP has partnered with infrastructure players such as nlyte Software and Eaton Corp.

The power management software is included on ProLiant G7 DL series servers and there are licensing costs for the power discovery and dashboard applications.