In another sign of just how seriously the major vendors consider the blade market, Hewlett-Packard unveiled not only a new set of high-power blades but a new iteration of its entire blade architecture.
On the architectural front, we have a new approach to the Consolidated Client Infrastructure designed to foster enhanced remote access to desktops with tools like Remote Graphics Software and Session Allocation Manager. The first offers a common set of images and graphics regardless of which desktop is being used, while the second offers a unified platform for SAN access. The hardware side sees a pair of new models, the bc2000 and bc2500, sporting single- and dual-core Athlon 64s.
What's most interesting about HP's approach, according to David Berlind, blogging on ZDNet, is that it eschews the typical thin-client model, in which multiple clients are connected to a single partitioned blade. Instead, HP wants users to have their own dedicated blades accessible from any client. While this may be more expensive up front, the company maintains that it provides a more predictable environment and will save money in the long term.
Also interesting is the fact that HP announced a major blade strategy barely a week after Sun Microsystems http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/dcc/?p=147unveiled its own approach based on the 6000 platform running on either Intel processors or UltraSparcs. Like any competitive environment -- natural, capital or otherwise -- movement by one entity draws a response from another.
But all this motion from the top predators can sometimes obscure the goings-on farther down the food chain. In this case, that would be Egenera Inc., which recently added onto its line of pBlades outfitted with 64 GB of memory and four-socket, dual-core Opteron 8220 SEs. The devices will afford customers instant access to Windows, Red Hat, SuSE Linux and Solaris 10, as well as a range of high-end enterprise applications from Oracle, SAP and others.
It doesn't take a genius to realize that these higher-powered blades are being driven by higher-powered processors. What's unusual here is that much of the power gain is coming without increased power consumption or heat generation. And as long as the chip makers can keep that trend alive, we're likely to see a steady stream of high-density blade solutions.