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Itanium revs up HP-UX sites awaiting refresh

ItaniumInside The HP Integrity systems might have waited an extra year to get to Tukwila, but the freshest Itanium processor is stirring up customer interest and demand. An expert from an HP reseller's tech staff told us that news of the speed boosts has got some large-scale HP-UX customers eager for these latest rx-family units to ship. It couldn't happen too soon for this server line that is the preferred target for 3000 sites migrating to Unix.

HP hasn't said much in specific about Tukwila-based Integrity servers, other than its overview about how the newer line will have faster processing, more advanced virtualization and believe it or not, more stability. There was a time when the headline on Tukwila was its power advantages, the unique value you'd see as a reason to choose HP-UX. HP has been talking about this generation for more than two years.

The latest talk tries to put the feeds and speeds numbers in business perspective. Lorraine Bartlett, VP of Marketing and Strategy for HP's Business Critical Systems business unit, promoted the new servers with this language in an HP blog:

There will be lots of Ghz and Mbytes numbers that we as vendors love to talk about, but when we talk with customers they don't share the vendor love of clock rates and latency, and want to talk about the business results the systems enable.  How the system can accelerate application deployment, deliver any application anywhere, deliver predictable service continuity and quality — these features, these business performance features are really the design center of our next generation systems.

Another benefit from HP's Integrity-Tukwila offering: a concept called Converged Infrastructure. It will seem familiar to any HP customer who studied HP's Adaptive Enterprise from five years ago, one where you could dynamically allocate processor power among varied environments.

If you need more reasons to embrace the newest processors, Intel has a Tukwila Webcast replay you can watch, and perhaps show to your tech-oriented management. The whole message package about what Intel calls the Itanium 9300 is online at the top of HP's main Integrity page.

The snag here for the HP-UX customers is the additional wait for Tukwila in the datacenter. The new Integrity units won't be available until the fall, by standard scheduling, "and then nobody wants to be in the first wave of release for this size server," said our contact in the reseller community.

But a refresh of the Integrity processor line, which is going to include a big presence in the bladed systems, will be welcome among HP's Unix customers. HP 3000 shops might not be pressing the outer envelope of current Integrity servers with their performance needs once they migrate. On the other hand, if you can hold out until 2011 to take delivery on hardware, you're going to get something with another four years of vendor-best performance. Or deal earlier, and ask for discounts on the current Integrity server lineup.