Hewlett Packard Co [HPQ] is set to launch a new low-cost line of entry rack-mounted Intel-based servers in an effort to attack the high-performance computing and small and midsized business (SMB) markets with a machine that it feels is more compelling than alternatives from Dell Inc [DELL], IBM Corp [IBM], and Sun Microsystems Inc [SUNW] as well as hundreds of white box server makers who try to undercut the big players.
The ProLiant 100 series of machines will take out some of the high-end features such as SCSI disk drives, embedded RAID controllers, and various lights-out management features that are standard in the rest of the ProLiant rack-mounted server line, since these features are not really used in HPC scenarios anyway.
High-Performance Computing (HPC) customers buy hundreds or thousands of servers, and generally make a slightly larger server a compute or storage control node in the HPC cluster. They are not going to use internal storage except to house an instance of the local operating system running on the machine and some scratch space for a portion of a large data set.
For many HPC and other number-intensive workloads, Intel’s Xeon DP processors offer better density, more aggregate flops per rack, and better bang for the buck compared to machines based on Itanium processors. That is why the new ProLiant 100 series is adopting the Xeon DP chip.
The intended customers for this machine are in the finance, geological sciences, engineering, electronic design, life sciences, materials sciences, virtual prototyping, and digital media sectors of the economy, where Lintel clusters are increasingly being used to do data warehousing, simulation, and rendering jobs that used to be done by vector Unix or parallel RISC/Unix supercomputers.
The DL140 is the first machine in the ProLiant series, and it a rack-mounted machine that will begin shipping in mid-November. It is a 1U machine that can support up to two Prestonia Xeon DP processors, with clock speeds ranging from 2.4GHz to 3.2GHz. It has a 533MHz front side bus.
The entry ProLiant DL140 with a single 2.4GHz processor, 512 MB of main memory, and a single 80GB ATA disk drive will sell for $1,299, not including the cost of an operating system. A two-way version using the same processors and 1GB of main memory will sell for $1,749, and the final 1GB memory card to expand it all the way up to maximum memory will cost $509.
A fully loaded machine with two 3.2GHz Xeon DPs, 2GB of memory, and one 80GB disk will cost $4,359. An entry two-way ProLiant DL360 costs $3,548 with a single 3.06GHz processor and 1GB of main memory; with two processors, 2GB of memory and two 36GB disks, it costs $5,865.
This machine is not available with the 3.2GHz Xeon DPs yet, but it is obvious that the ProLiant DL140 will offer more bang for a lot less bucks where raw processor performance and fast I/O matters and nothing else really does. HP will be offering the machines in preconfigured clusters in early 2004 to make acquiring lots of them easier for HPC customers.
The ProLiant DL140 supports Windows and either Red Hat, SuSE, or United Linux variants of Linux.
This article was based on material originally published by ComputerWire.