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back to article HP's Nehalem-EX iron set for June arrival

HP will launch its first wave of "beastie boxes" based on Intel's "Nehalem-EX" Xeon 7500 processors later this month, according to sources familiar with HP's plans. There are three months when server makers typically launch products: March, June, and September. And it looks like June is shaping up to be a very busy month for …

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Bronze badge

Pity

The Nehalem EX chips are, of course, exciting because they bring reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features previously reserved for mainframes (and the Itanium) to the x86 world.

I agree that HP shouldn't push its OpenVMS and HP-UX customers through an unnecessary architectural transition. But because the future availability of Itanium is in doubt, it should still port those operating systems so as to give new customers an alternative. There are people out there who would like the advantages of a "real" Unix, and why shouldn't they buy HP-UX instead of Solaris x86, who would balk at going for the Itanium.

And, in my opinion, Open VMS qualifies as a "real mainframe operating system", which is more than you can say for Unix, let alone Windows.

I realize that the Nehalem-EX is too expensive at the moment for mass-market desktops, and persuading customers to use the X Window System on top of Open VMS instead of Microsoft Windows would seem to be much more difficult than persuading them to buy a Macintosh, or even more difficult than it had been to persuade them to use OS/2... but there is a desperate need for competition.

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Grenade

VMS is snake oil

and HP-UX is exciting as Russian truck.

Why not dump all that proprietary crud and concentrate efforts to Linux?

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Anonymous Coward

@John Savard

Whilst agreeing with most of your post (and definitely disagreeing with "VMS is snake oil", although there is an oft-misquoted snake oil reference from Ken Olsen)

"The Nehalem EX chips are, of course, exciting because they bring reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features previously reserved for mainframes (and the Itanium) to the x86 world."

What do they bring that AMD64/Opteron didn't already bring a couple of years ago, except an Intel badge (which is obviously important of itself to some companies)?

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FAIL

Hp playing catchup... To Dell!

So, HP finally release details of their Nehalem EX based servers and we can expect them by the end of June. Great, but didn't Dell launch their Nehalem EX servers at the end of April? Two months late to market? Come on HP, what exactly are you spending all your R&D budget these days?

I also note that spec-for-spec the new HP Proliant DL580 G7 looks identical to the Dell Poweredge R910. So, two months late to market and you couldn't even do a better job than Dell... Brilliant.

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Bronze badge

Opteron 6100s

I have it on good authoritah that HP will be launching some new Opteron 6100 systems at the end of the month too, around June 21st.

Obviously missing from the current line up is a DL365 series, a DL585 series and blades, since they have a DL185 series and DL385 series.

Not sure which might be the one(s) that are launched.

I don't understand who in their right mind would use 16GB dimms myself. Of course just because you can doesn't mean you should. I would think any system that has in the realm of several hundred gigabytes of memory you would want memory mirroring of some sort. HP's advanced ECC goes a long way but even they admit it's not as good as mirroring.

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Silver badge
WTF?

TPM's fixation strikes again!

Only TPM could turn an article on ANY hp product into an attack on Itanium. First he implies hp held back the Nehalem EX kit so as not to overshadow the Itanium blades announcement, when hp has previously not given a hoot about coinciding Xeon and Itanium launches. This first supposition is blown out of the water by the fact that hp were happily announcing ProLiant G7 kit at the same time as launching the new Itaniums. Fact is, it just looks like hp needed more time to get their EX kit sorted, so Maclovin is right when he says hp are chasing Dell. I'd be much more interested in maybe some inside info on why hp were so slow to get the EX kit out the door rather than listening to more of TPM's Itanium-bashing, but then TPM's inside info seems very limited to IBM only, and I suppose he had to pad out his article somehow.

Then we get the bizarre idea that the whole ProLiant strategy is all about stopping Integrity customers defecting (in TPM's deleriums he probably dreams they are going to buy Power-AIX instead)! Didn't TPM get the news? The hp ProLiant range is the single biggest selling server range - period! It is not some after-thought to prop up Integrity customers. I know that TPM is steeped in the old IBM tradition of "everything props up mainframe", but trying to staple that model onto other vendors is just wishful sillyness. The new EX kit are about maintaining and expanding hp's lead in the x64 space, the fact that they share components with the Integrity range is just a bonus for the Integrity boys as the economies of scale reduce the cost of making the Integrity servers.

But the funniest line of all was where TPM implied hp sales might use the old IBM sales mantra of "try and sell a 'proprietary paltform' (mainframe) first, then try AIX or Linux on Power, then x64" - a quick chat with any hp salegrunt over the last ten-odd years would have told him that hp have always preached AGAINST such platform-driven selling, and have been very happy to tell us customers all about it as it has helped them dethrone IBM. One of the reasons hp have been more successful with us (and probably why they have won other accounts over) is because they want to know about our business and our requirements rather than just throw platforms at us. I have had projects where we have sat down with the vendors and mapped out the problem, then asked what they suggested to meet the requirement. With IBM it is just about always a Power push, with x64 as a grudging inclusion if we ask. With hp, I can ususally get as many options as I like - Windows or Linux on x64 or Integrity, or hp-ux, and all options are available right up to a proof of concept level if required.

If anything, it has been my experience that many hp resellers are quicker to back the Wintel option ratehr than NonStop or hp-ux, as they usually have more inhouse skills and experience if we require any services, whereas with hp-ux (and Linux and OpenVMS) we usually just do it ourselves. It also seems to be a faster sales cycle for them, with more ProLiant kit actually here in the UK rather than having to be pulled from Germany as our Integrity kit seems to be. It was similar when I did work in the States, and I'm assuming the efficiency drives of Fiorina and Hurd won't have added an extra layer of hp distribution to change that. Maybe TPM should get out and speak to a few customers?

/SP&L

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tl;dr

Fully expected a Matt Bryant post here and while I'm glad not to be disappointed, that wall of text is several times more than I'm interested in reading. Let me see if I can make my point a bit quicker...

I believe that HP is planning to release a 2-socket Nehalem-EX in later in the year. I have no information as to why this is, but I am happy to speculate.

The Nehalem-EX is launching with low clock speeds relative to the Westmere-EP. It is a much more expensive processor, so HP could be waiting to make sure it is a commercial success before launching a 2-socket offering. A server that costs a lot more than a DL380 G7 but underperforms for most workloads will not be overly popular.

I want to like the AMD 6100, but the clock speeds are too low and some early test reports seem to confirm exactly what I was concerned about: parallelism be damned, it's so much slower than the Intel 5600 series for most workloads but particularly those that only need 1-4 cores. The AMD might hit some sweet spots for databases that can utilize parallelism; it does have more memory slots per socket than the Intel 5600 which makes larger memory footprints more affordable.

But I'm betting on Intel to continue to own the 2 socket performance crown and to decisively capture 4 socket as well. I don't particularly like Intel, but I buy what works. Like I said previously, I'm not sure what the value proposition will be for the 2 socket Nehalem-EX. Once they get it to near 3ghz, then I'm interested. I've got too much stuff that needs one really damn fast thread. Sorry.

"It's not showfriends, it's showbusiness."

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Silver badge
Boffin

Interesting hp response.

When I prod the usual sources in hp they go all stoney-faced and just say "The new Nehalem EX servers have been released now they have passed lab testing", which begs the question did hp have to do more testing than say Dell, or did hp have an issue getting the kit through tests? I can't see it being that hp were short of lab resource seeing as the Xeon kit must be priority numero uno for hp.

Another funny story - we have a project looking at Slowaris x64 and Red Hat on ProLiant for replacing some of our SPARC Oracle instances, and I was wanting to get some next gen Opteron kit in at a future date to see how Slowaris x64 and Oracle could take advantage of the AMD chips compared to Nehalem EX. But, out of the blue, I'm now dealing with queries from execs that want to know if the AMD option is viable "now that Oracle have dropped AMD"!!! Personally, I hope hp goes the full hog on the AMDs as I think Intel need someone like AMD to push/drag them along.

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