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HP pushes blades with solution blocks

Blocks Hewlett-Packard enjoys a leading position in blade server market share. The company's margin is a key element in the message that bladed servers are the vendor's new heartland for IT enterprise solutions. Both Windows and HP-UX can be deployed on blades. The former represents the bigger part of HP's blade share, so the latter was the topic for a recent Webcast hosted by the Connect user group.

Connect has posted the slides for the Webcast, a 60-page deck that might have been difficult to finish during the one hour time slot. One at the end stood out as a new offering, packaged like old 3000 products. HP calls these Solution Blocks, "hassle-free ordering, configuring and customizing of multiple applications. Starting with... HP-UX 11i on an HP platform provides a foundation for adding the required server, storage and tape backup blades to complete your infrastructure."

Solution Blocks are packed and deployed by HP's application resellers, so the business model aligns with the part of the HP 3000 customer base that purchased turnkey solutions, like Summit's Spectrum credit union app. HP's Webcast stressed that Solution Blocks reduce risk while optimizing deployment. Mitigating risk is high on the typical management list when a 3000 shop chooses to migrate.

There's the risk in remaining on the 3000, mostly the reality of declining community resources. But migrating also poses risks. A Washington State college consortium is regrouping this year after a $14 million project bottomed out. A Solution Block might not have helped there, but the point is to simplify any deployment.

HP and Connect didn't position the HP-UX blade server Webcast as a migration message. But the 3000 community is evaluating HP's Unix blades as a transition target. For the mid-sized customer with lean Unix skills, Solution Blocks might help. HP has the blocks organized by enterprise-size solutions and those targeted at mid-size companies. As an example, the SAP Business All-in-One is offered to mid-size firms with what HP calls "overbuilt" hardware.

The HP  BladeSystem for SAP Business All-in-One (AiO) Solution  Block running on HP Integrity server blades and the  HP-UX 11i operating environment. With the highly reliable HP BladeSystem infrastructure,  we’ve overbuilt the enclosure to set new standards of  readiness and certainty. It can accommodate 10 cooling  fans, six power supplies, four pairs of switches, and IO bandwidth of 5 terabytes—so your  business’ mission won’t stop.

Solution Blocks will probably be on the list of offerings from any reseller who's packaging HP's Unix along with applications. Unix has been a roll-your-own, highly customized solution for a long time. The blocks might make a Unix migration less complex.