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Posted by Richard Fichera on February 18, 2012
On Monday, February 13, HP announced its next turn of the great wheel for servers with the announcement of its Gen8 family of servers. Interestingly, since the announcement was ahead of Intel’s official announcement of the supporting E5 server CPUs, HP had absolutely nothing to say about the CPUs or performance of these systems. But even if the CPU information had been available, it would have been a sideshow to the main thrust of the Gen8 launch — improving the overall TCO (particularly Opex) of servers by making them more automated, more manageable, and easier to remediate when there is a problem, along with enhancements to storage, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) capabilities, and a fundamental change in the way that services and support are delivered.
With a little more granularity, the major components of the Gen8 server technology announcement included:
My net take is that this is a significantly more important announcement than the last several from HP or any other mainstream server vendor, and it sets a high bar for competitors. In the coming month or two we can expect other competitive announcements, and I think that some pieces of hardware, such as PCIe-3, improved memory reliability and performance, and increased integration of flash memory into storage, will be replicated wholly or in part by competitors. What will probably set HP apart is the cumulative impact of their intelligent provisioning, diagnostics and update capabilities, along with the potentials of their service portal and associated services.
For HP customers this is unmitigated good news. For competitors it is a challenge, and we anxiously await their responses. Any HP customers are welcome to weigh in on their impressions of these announcements.
[i]It appears that you will need to involve the Insight Control Software to implement the “one touch” provisioning as well as features like the smartphone app.
[ii]To be fair, smart caching of disk content on integrated flash is not new, but it is new to HP. PCIe-3 is not likely to be unique for long. I expect everyone in the coming cycle of server announcements will have this on their next-gen servers.
[iii]Kleenex is a registered trademark of someone.
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