HP Launches Mighty Superdome Server

Challenging Sun and IBM in the high-end UNIX market, HP has unveiled the new HP 9000 Superdome server, designed for large dot coms, service providers and other data-intensive enterprises. Ann Livermore, President of HP's Business Customer Organization, called Superdome "a box that rocks" and backed up her claim by pointing out it is the fastest server in the UNIX market, operating at twice the speed of HP's V-Class line.

HP CEO Carly Fiorina called Superdome the foundation of "an always-on Internet infrastructure." The server minimizes downtime through increased component redundancy, a range of hot-swappable components and built-in error correction capabilities.

HP is also offering a new "utility-based" pricing system with Superdome, allowing businesses to pay only for the amount of computing power they use month-to-month. Moreover, HP has extended its capacity-on-demand program to embrace Superdome. In the capacity-on-demand program, computers ship with extra processors that can be activated and paid for only when they are needed.

The new Superdome servers also boast virtual partitioning, enabling users to automatically re-allocate processing power on the fly. The servers will also be able to run different operating systems in different partitions. They now support HP-UX 11i and are slated to support HP-UX, Linux and Windows NT simultaneously.

The Superdome line features HP's PA-8600 processors but is IA-64 ready, although HP does not plan to deliver Itanium-based Superdomes until the second half of 2002.

Superdome can be configured with up to 64 processors and 256 GB of memory. The servers will begin shipping in volume in December, with prices starting at about $400,000.

HP has also built services into the Superdome offering. The company will dedicate a solution manager to each Superdome customer to define needs, establish accountability and accelerate deployment. HP also said that every Superdome system will be pre-integrated to and tested to the customer's satisfaction.