HP Reduces Customer Administrative Costs and Wait Time with Blade Network Virtualization Technologies

On the heels of taking the No. 1 position in factory revenues and units shipped for blade servers,(1) HP today introduced virtualization technologies that simplify the connectivity and management of its HP BladeSystem c-Class architecture, the company’s core solution for the next-generation data center.

HP also announced the launch of its first workstation blade for the c-Class blade portfolio, the HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation, to provide users with increased performance and scalability.

Dramatically simplifying network connectivity and common server management tasks across the data center, the HP Virtual Connect Ethernet and Fibre Channel virtualization modules enable administrators for the first time to wire just once and then add, replace or recover servers on the fly. In addition to lowering capital and operating costs, the modules deliver simplified management capabilities that reduce the time it takes to execute these actions from hours or days to a matter of minutes.

“HP is creating systems that dramatically reduce installation time, cut costs for administration and reduce barriers to change within an IT organization,” said Ann Livermore, executive vice president, Technology Solutions Group, HP. “With HP Virtual Connect, CIOs and IT administrators are set to overcome two of the biggest problems of today’s data center: administrative productivity and the need to drive rapid change.”

The new technologies bolster the HP Adaptive Infrastructure offering, which helps customers move towards 24×7, “lights out” data centers, and will add to the company’s momentum in the blade server market. According to analyst firm IDC, HP surpassed IBM to take the lead in factory revenues and units shipped for blade servers in the fourth calendar quarter of 2006.(1)

“Customers are on a treadmill of complexity and cost that limits the value IT is able to deliver to the business,” said Zane Adam, director, Windows Server Division, Microsoft Corp. “HP’s new Virtual Connect modules with HP BladeSystem c-Class, running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, help customers operate mainstream business services more nimbly and cost-effectively, increase the manageability of their IT environments and improve responsiveness to new business requirements.”

Extending virtualization capabilities beyond the server

Built on industry-standard technologies, the HP Virtual Connect modules cleanly separate server management from local area network (LAN) and storage area network (SAN) management without introducing another network to manage or disturbing existing network topologies. Since HP Virtual Connect runs Ethernet and Fibre Channel natively, performance is not compromised, administrative tasks are significantly easier to complete and compatibility with existing network and storage infrastructures is assured.

In addition to speeding operations, Virtual Connect modules can reduce total LAN and SAN connectivity costs by up to 38 percent versus pass-through modules and can consolidate cables and switch ports by up to 94 percent.

“HP’s innovative Virtual Connect architecture will extend virtualization performance and capabilities delivered through HP’s BladeSystem c-Class products,” said Boyd Davis, general manager, Server Platforms Group, Marketing, Intel Corp. “We are excited to see the continued innovation and focus on improving IT efficiencies and flexibility with c-Class, especially when driven by Intel’s Quad-Core Xeon and Dual-Core Itanium based platforms.”

HP Virtual Connect allows administrators within a few minutes to:

  • Pre-provision servers, LAN and SAN infrastructures;
  • Recover or replace failed servers;
  • Deploy, move or migrate servers;
  • Switch between development, test and production networks;
  • Service remote sites without requiring travel of LAN or SAN administrators; and,
  • Increase administrator productivity by 3-to-1.

HP Virtual Connect is widely supported by leading network and storage application software providers, and it offers an important growth opportunity for HP channel partners to extend the reach of the BladeSystem c-Class suite of products.

Furthermore, the HP BladeSystem Solution Builder Program is introducing Blade Connect, an online BladeSystem community for customers, partners and industry observers. Blade Connect will allow the community to have direct interaction, share knowledge, collaborate on solutions and set up meetings for further discussion.

To help customers leverage HP Virtual Connect for BladeSystem c-Class for faster investment returns and better business outcomes, HP Services has introduced a range of implementation and support services. Available today, the HP Virtualization Assessment Service provides a detailed view of the current server environment, evaluates the data and recommends changes for improving return on investment through IT consolidation and virtualization. Also, the HP Quick Thermal Assessment Service for HP BladeSystem offers a cost-effective analysis of data center space and power and cooling resource requirements for HP BladeSystem deployments.

Improved security, business continuity and flexibility with blade workstation computing

The HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation delivers data center workstation computing without boundaries by combining the centralized, mission-critical control and security of the data center with a seamless, workstation-class experience and the flexibility to support professionals in multiple work locations.

Powered by Dual-Core Intel® Xeon™ 5000 series processors with up to two-processor capability, the xw460c delivers a powerful, high-performance experience to users while practically eliminating desk-side support visits. The xw460c is ideal for customers in the financial services, public sector and manufacturing industries.

Pricing and availability(2)

The HP Virtual Connect Ethernet module starts at $5,699, while the HP Fibre Channel module starts at $9,499. The HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation starts at $4,329. All are currently available.

More information on today’s announcement is available in an online press kit at www.hp.com/go/blademomentum. More information on the Virtual Connect modules is available at www.hp.com/go/bladesystem/virtualconnect and HP BladeSystem at www.hp.com/go/bladesystem.

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