HP Low-Energy Servers Aim to Make Big Data Affordable

    Hewlett-Packard wants to help IT organizations address one of the more pressing issues facing data centers these days: generating more performance per watt. HP this week launched a new family of HP ProLiant SL4500 Gen8 servers that can be configured with either Intel Xeon E5-2400 series or AMD Opteron 4200 series processors.

    According to Jim Ganthier, vice president of marketing and operations for HP industry-standard servers and software, IT organizations stand to save millions of dollars using a new class of servers that not only consume much less power, but are also optimized to support application workloads based on Big Data.

    The ultimate goal, says Ganthier, is to make Big Data more affordable with a class of servers capable of supporting anywhere from 240 TB to 2.16 petabytes in a 42u rack with pricing that starts at $6,166.

    Ganthier says HP expects that low-energy servers such as the HP ProLiant SL4500 Gen8 server series will make up about 15 percent of the server market by 2015. While traditional Xeon-class processors will be used to drive transaction-processing applications, low-energy servers configured with more memory will increasingly be used to drive Big Data applications such as Hadoop and even email systems such as Microsoft Exchange.

    Like other HP servers, the HP ProLiant SL4500 Gen8 server series comes configured with HP Smart Array storage technology and SmartCache memory management software to accelerate I/O performance. The HP ProLiant SL270s Gen8 server can also support up to eight of the recently announced Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors or eight NVIDIA Kepler graphic processing units (GPUs) per server.

    After years of running applications primarily on one class of x86-compatible processors, data centers are about to become a lot more diverse as low-energy servers start to handle specific types of application workloads. Given energy costs associated with running those data centers, that’s probably a trend that can’t happen a moment too soon.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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