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Posted by Richard Fichera on June 5, 2012
Earlier this week at its Discover customer event, HP announced a significant set of improvements to its already successful c-Class BladeSystem product line, which, despite continuing competitive pressure from IBM and the entry of Cisco into the market three years ago, still commands approximately 50% of the blade market. The significant components of this announcement fall into four major functional buckets – improved hardware, simplified and expanded storage features, new interconnects and I/O options, and serviceability enhancements. Among the highlights are:
What does this mean?
Faced with significant competitive pressures from both Cisco and a resurgent IBM, whose new PureSystems systems effectively close the gap between their legacy H and HS BladeCenter products and HP’s c-Class, HP understands it is in a strongly competitive market and is making incremental improvements to retain its leadership position. These new announcements by HP go a long way towards meeting the improvements introduced by IBM and offer some improvement versus Cisco’s current product line. HP has stated that these improvements will extend the life of these systems to at least 2016, a full 10 years after the introduction of the original c-Class system. My assessment is that they are being conservative and that the provision of 40 Gb signal paths will potentially extend the lifespan of the product even further if HP desires, although the introduction of the next wave of server CPUs after the future “Ivy Bridge” server CPU wave, sometime after 2014, may be the inflection point at which HP does finally introduce a new system architecture (this is pure speculation on my part, no implication of HP endorsement here).
For existing HP customers, the new enhancements are unmixed good news, offering substantially higher performance and relaxation of looming bottlenecks, along with incorporation of the undeniably attractive Gen8 usability features. For competitors it’s a signal that HP is awake and paying attention to both customers and competitive threats.
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