HP spruces up its ProLiant servers ready for Intel’s new chips due next week
HP will upgrade its ProLiant servers to handle the Haswell-E Xeon chips due to launch next week at the Intel Developer Forum. The new servers will be available from next Monday, and will be fleshed out in more detail when Intel has launched the processors.
The ProLiant Gen9 servers are billed as a “major milestone”, and HP’s marketing doesn’t mention the as-yet unlaunched Intel chips, but alongside other server vendors such as Lenovo the firm is upgrading its server range around the new chips. Like their rivals, HP’s servers will have faster DDR4 memory, but the company will also add its own tweaks such as improved manageability and smart cacheing, as well PCIe accelerators and “SmartMemory”.
Intel is the only game in town?
Intel is effectively the only significant evolving processor for these kind of servers, HP’s European vice president of servers Iain Stephen told TechWeek. He added: “We will have AMD processors in these servers, but they will be called ‘Gen8’,” he said. This is because AMD is not launching a new generation at this stage.
The new ProLiant versions, like the old ones, cover tower, blade, rack and “scale-out” form factors. The numbering remains consistent, with the server labelled 350 and the blade chassis labelled 460. The 360 is a 1U rackmount server while the 380 is a 2U, 2-socket version.The 160 and 180 are higher-performance versions of that.
“The most popular two-socket server in the world is the 360,” said Stephen. “The bulk of our volume is in these products.” While the Gen9 is a big change, he doesn’t expect Gen8 users to bin their servers, as most customers are on a five year cycle. He said: “Those on Gen5 to Gen7 will refresh to this.”
As IT departments outsource more of their services to the cloud, some have predicted that “industry standard” rackmount and blade servers like the ProLiant will eventually be displaced by cloud servers running on the in-house designed hardware of Tier 1 players such as Google and Amazon, or the Open Compute designs backed by Facebook.
Stephen sees plenty of life in commodity rack servers, and it was emphasised to TechWeek that HP is an active participant in Open Compute, and is ready to cater for the Tier 1 cloud providers through its joint venture with FoxConn