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Posted by Richard Fichera on February 21, 2013
With the next major spin of Intel server CPUs due later this year, HP’s customers have been waiting for HP’s next iteration of its core c-Class BladeSystem, which has been on the market for almost 7 years without any major changes to its basic architecture. IBM made a major enhancement to its BladeCenter architecture, replacing it with the new Pure Systems, and Cisco’s offering is new enough that it should last for at least another three years without a major architectural refresh, leaving HP customers to wonder when HP was going to introduce its next blade enclosure, and whether it would be compatible with current products.
At their partner conference this week, HP announced a range of enhancements to its blade product line that on combination represent a strong evolution of the current product while maintaining compatibility with current investments. This positioning is similar to what IBM did with its BladeCenter to BladeCenter-H upgrade, preserving current customer investment and extending the life of the current server and peripheral modules for several more years.
Tech Stuff – What Was Announced
Among the goodies announced on February 19 was an assortment of performance and functionality enhancements, including:
In addition to these core enhancements, HP also announced enhanced storage offerings and a new workstation blade with up to 8 GPUs targeted at large-scale VDI deployments.
What It Means For HP Customers
For HP customers, this announcement is unmitigated good news, offering:
For HP Competitors
HP’s primary competitors in blades/converged infrastructure are IBM and Cisco. From a competitive standpoint, HP’s improvements shore up some critical shortcomings and will make it that much more difficult for competitors to displace HP on a technology feature basis. When I used to fly small airplanes, the acronym “EFC” meant “Expect Further Clearance” from air traffic control in the event of inclement weather, congestion or other irregularities. If I were forecasting the competitive weather in the core converged infrastructure and blade segment (Wow, is this stretching a figure of speech or what?), I would steal the FAAs acronym and say that EFC now means “Expect Further Competition” — with three dominant world-class system suppliers (and enough second-tier competition to avoid any chance of oligopolistic behavior) competing for the fastest growing segment of the x86 market, it will remain intensely competitive and richly rewarding to customers for the foreseeable future.
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