HP offers path from HP 9000 to new hardware

HP also rolled out a new storage array that scales to 2,000 small-form-factor drives

Hewlett-Packard has released new software to help customers move off of their aging HP 9000 servers and onto its newer Integrity systems.

The two server platforms use incompatible versions of HP-UX. The HP 9000s are based on HP's now-defunct PA-RISC processor, and the newer Integrity servers use Intel Itanium chips.

Some customers whose applications don't need high levels of performance have been content to stick with their older systems, on the age-old principle that, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

However, modern hardware tends to be more energy-efficient and takes up less space, and HP says customers want to move away from the HP 9000s because they need to squeeze more use out of their data centers. They may also want to move because their applications are no longer supported on the older systems.

One option is to migrate to a different Unix platform entirely, but HP would prefer its customers use a new capability in HP-UX 11i v3 called HP-UX 9000 Containers. A container, in this context, is basically a virtualized environment that lets the older applications run on the newer hardware.

"You can pick up that whole HP 9000 software environment, put it in a container, and run it on your new Integrity server," said Lorraine Bartlett, vice president for worldwide marketing, strategy and operations at HP's Business Critical Systems unit.

Any performance hit from not running the software natively would be compensated for by the more powerful hardware underneath, Bartlett said. HP-UX 9000 Containers is a free addition for users of HP-UX.

HP also released a new Serviceguard module for customers running the Oracle E-Business Suite of applications. Serviceguard is a tool for setting up and configuring HP-UX or Linux clusters to help ensure uptime for critical applications.

HP already offers Serviceguard extensions for Oracle RAC (Real Application Clusters), SAP and other environments. It now offers a Serviceguard extension for the E-Business Suite, which it says will greatly reduce the number of steps needed to set up Oracle applications on a cluster. The software is priced on a per-socket or per-core basis, at $US2,600 per socket or $1,300 per core.

Also on Monday, HP rolled out a new, high-end storage array called the StorageWorks P9500. The core product is manufactured by Hitachi Ltd. and rebranded by HP, which adds some of its own software. The same system is being announced separately on Monday by Hitachi Data Systems, which will sell it as the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform.

The P9500 can scale from five up to 2,000 800MB small-form-factor SAS (Serial-Attached SCSI) drives. It is replacing HP's existing StorageWorks XP 20000 and XP 24000 products, said Kyle Fitze, HP's director of product management for StorageWorks.

The XP systems have had the ability to do thin storage provisioning for some time, and with the P9500, HP is extending that capability to include multiple tiers of storage in the array, including solid-state drives, SAS drives and high-capacity SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) drives, Fitze said. The idea is to help enterprises use more of the storage capacity they buy.

"We can now double the utilization in a typical storage environment," he said.

HP is also introducing a flexible licensing model with the P9500, which lets customers pay for only the management and replication software they need for the amount of storage they are using. If they flex up and down for a spike in demand, their software fees go up and down accordingly, Fitze said.

The P9500 can manage more than 300 petabytes of external storage, as well as storage arrays from other vendors in the same connected environment, Fitze said.

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Tags serversoperating systemsunixsoftwareHewlett-Packardhardware systemsMidrange

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James Niccolai

IDG News Service
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