HP sees future for blade servers

The IT giant says customers are now realising the advantages of the blade

Despite rack servers' lead over blades in terms of market sales, IT giant Hewlett-Packard touts the blade as "the future of servers" for the midsize market. During the recent launch of the HP BladeSystem c3000, dubbed "Shorty," meant to address the Global 500,000, Sreehivas Narayanan, regional business manager for industry standard servers at HP Southeast Asia, said the new blade system is "the way for all SMBs to deploy their servers."

"Although the rack form is still leading, this will eventually be stagnant and taper down," said HP Philippines blade system product manager, Veronica Escalante. According to the official, blade servers are the "growth engine" of the server market, citing an International Data Corporation (IDC) study which said the growth rate for blades in the next five years is continuously rising, posing 235 percent year-on-year growth in sales as of the second quarter of this year. Also in mid-2007, HP's blade server segment grew no less than 200 percent year-on-year.

Escalante said that, although this market shift from rack servers to the blade will not be immediate- especially since rack servers are what people have gotten used to, increasing management and maintenance costs which are now turning out to be even higher than new server spending, are making IT managers realize that the blade system is becoming the more practical server platform.

Blade for SMBs

Constrained by limited budgets and small IT staff, midsize companies are challenged to do more with less and therefore want technology offerings that are created just for them and their specific needs, not the scaled-down enterprise solutions. Designed specifically for the smaller technology sites, branch offices, and remote locations, the c3000 is supposed to reduce the time and cost necessary to deploy new business applications, even with a small IT team. "Businesses with space and IT staffing constraints can now utilize the full benefits of bladed infrastructure," said Escalante.

The c3000 is said to give customers power and cooling savings of up to 30 percent, storage area networking connection cost savings of up to 60 percent, and cabling reduced by 94 percent- thereby lowering cost and complexity. "Everybody's talking about carbon footprint nowadays, you have to have systems that are energy-efficient and easy to deploy," said Narayanan.

In addition to the c3000, the company also unveiled the HP StorageWorks All-in-One SB600c storage blade, which works in both the new c3000 and the existing HP BladeSystem c7000. According to Escalante, the SB600c delivers network-attached storage, iSCSI SAN (storage area network) capabilities and data protection in one device, allowing growing business to expand their storage and have data protection without additional cables or management requirements.

Designed to offer greater benefits, savings, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) versus rack servers through high density and lower power consumption as well as reduced overall management and data center space requirements, blade servers are expected to become more ubiquitous in data centers in the next four to five years, specially with growing initiatives in consolidation and virtualization.

"Customers are now realizing the advantages of the blade," said Esacalante, adding that this is also why HP is currently investing more, in terms of innovation, on the blade server platform.

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