HP Launches Midsize Blade Chassis

Hewlett-Packard Co. has launched a blade chassis for mid-sized companies, following in the footsteps of IBM's BladeCenter S, which Big Blue pre-announced in June.

The new BladeSystem c3000, codenamed "Shorty" and which Techworld reporters have previewed, is aimed at smaller technology sites, branch offices and remote locations. According to HP, implementation requires no special power, cooling or staff.

It accepts up to eight blades and other peripherals, which are identical to those accepted by HP's larger, enterprise-level BladeSystem c7000. On the c3000 however, power supplies and other common components are scaled down to suit the smaller loads that the c3000 will encounter. For example there are only six fans. Unlike the c7000, it sports a DVD-ROM drive that can be allocated to any server blade, which product manager Peter Mansell said was more appropriate for smaller or branch office environments.

HP calculates that the breakeven point is between three to five server blades, compared to buying discrete servers.

There'll be a tower version of the c3000 available in the first quarter of 2008 with the same features, occupying two square feet of floor space. There'll also be a castor-mounted version at some point, said Mansell.

The UK price is #2,200 and it will ship from today.

The c3000 was the flagship of a forest of products and services launched simultaneously for mid-sized companies -- what HP called the Global 500,000.

Also in the forest was the new StorageWorks All-in-One SB600c Storage Blade, which works in both the c3000 and c7000. The company said the product helps customers offers easy-to-use backup, archiving and disaster recovery capabilities with no storage expertise required. It is the only storage blade solution available today that delivers bladed network-attached storage, iSCSI SAN capabilities and data protection in a single device, according to HP.

Additionally, HP has released new application "blueprints," Solution Blocks, which HP claimed, simplify and accelerate the integration of multiple application and data protection solutions into the new c3000 enclosure.

HP said its research indicates that two-thirds of mid-sized businesses want technology offerings that meet their needs and are created just for them. In addition, almost 90 percent of senior business and technology executives at mid-sized companies say their company is doing more with less by using technology, according to HP's research.

"Midsize customers don't want watered down enterprise solutions," said HP VP Ann Livermore. "They want complete solutions built uniquely to address their needs."

Other new offerings include:

- HP Midsize Business Solutions -- Available through HP channel partners, these tested "blueprints" deliver business outcomes through accelerated deployment for applications such as mail, messaging, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning. These solutions are optimised to address key business priorities of midsize companies such as continuity, security and efficiency.

HP said its new products and services are designed and integrated with software from companies such as Citrix, Microsoft, Oracle, Sage Software, SAP and VMware, as well as local independent software vendors.

- HP BladeSystem Solution Blocks are aimed at businesses looking to run multiple applications in a single consolidated environment. They consist of tested and documented combinations of HP server blades, storage blades and management software, said HP.

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