HP's new virtualization servers provide path to cloud

HP's new VirtualSystem for Microsoft is based on Hyper-V virtualization technology

Hewlett-Packard on Monday announced new servers that come pre-configured with Microsoft software to help companies deploy virtualized workloads more quickly.

HP's VirtualSystem for Microsoft includes HP servers and Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization software, and will help customers to rapidly deploy applications including SharePoint, Exchange Server and SQL Server, said Jeff Carlat, director of industry standard servers and software marketing, enterprise storage, servers and networking.

The virtual workloads, hardware and other resources can be managed using HP's Insight Control and Microsoft System Centers.

The servers provide a path to help customers build private and public clouds, and link the two in a hybrid cloud, he said. VirtualSystem for Microsoft uses the same architecture as the HP CloudSystem, which combines storage, networking and servers to reduce latency when scaling configurations in cloud deployments.

Virtualization isn't optimal for all types of cloud deployment. Service providers such as Facebook, for example, which have to crunch large volumes of very small Web transactions, have opted for hardware-based architectures using thousands of low-power servers.

Some newer applications scale in a different way, but many traditional applications function perfectly well in virtualized environments, said Frances Guida, manager of HP cloud solutions and infrastructure, enterprise servers, storage and networking. Virtualization allows companies to scale their capacity up and down quickly to match changing workloads, he said.

HP and Microsoft are trying to make it easier for customers to move applications to the cloud, Guida said. HP already offers VirtualSystem products built with VMware's virtualization technology.

VirtualSystem for Microsoft will be available in November priced from about US$175,500. It will be offered in two models -- the VS1, for companies that want to host about 750 virtual machines, and the VS2, for companies hosting about 2,500 virtual machines. The prices don't include Microsoft's application licenses.

The VS1 can be configured with up to eight HP ProLiant DL380 G7 servers, 1G-bit and 10G-bit Ethernet connections, and a P4500 LeftHand SAN (storage area network) that scales from 14TB to 57TB. The VS2 can have up to 12 HP ProLiant BL460c G7 servers, multiple network and storage connectivity modules, and P4800 LeftHand SAN that can expand to 84TB.

HP also launched VirtualSystem for Superdome 2, for companies such as financial institutions that use HP's high-uptime Superdome servers. These systems typically run on Intel's Itanium processor and HP's HP-UX operating system.

High-end servers often need high levels of customization, but the factory configuration provides a way to bring newer HP technologies, such as its 3Par storage, into a virtualized system, Carlat said. HP didn't provide pricing for the VirtualSystem for Superdome 2.

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