HP quadruples virtual machines in new blade

HP says the new ProLiant WS460c Gen8 blade server adds server efficiency and cuts operational costs

By , IDG News Service |  

Hewlett-Packard is set to deliver a new blade that will quadruple the virtual desktops that can be deployed from one server compared to the company's previous offerings.

The HP ProLiant WS460c Gen8 blade server uses graphics processors to deliver virtual desktops, but adds a layer of virtualization on top of the GPUs to expand the number of virtual clients deployed from servers to client devices, said John Gromala, director of product marketing for Industry Standard Servers and Software at HP.

Virtual desktops are typically delivered to remote devices so that they can access centralized data and applications residing on the servers. An increasing number of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are being used for work, and there is more desire for workers to access enterprise data and applications beyond calendars, Gromala said.

Deploying more virtual desktops helps reduce the cost per virtual client by 60 percent while boosting work efficiency, Gromala said. The company is working with Nvidia in order to deliver more virtual clients, but did not talk about the technology being deployed.

The HP blade will harness the parallel processing capabilities of graphics processors, which will help enable the delivery of high-definition images to virtual clients. The GPUs will also be able to remotely execute specific multimedia and engineering applications faster than CPUs, which are typically more adept for everyday tasks and running single-threaded applications.

The server is able to carry up to eight graphics processors, a greater number than its predecessor, the ProLiant WS460c G6. Each blade system can support multiple users using either Citrix or VMware GPU pass-through technology, for which Nvidia collaborated with Citrix and VMware to integrate into hypervisors. The blade supports Intel Xeon E5-2600 CPUs and Nvidia Quadro 3000M, 1000M, 500M as well as the Quadro 6000, 5000 graphics processors.

Nvidia has also been working on a virtualization technology called VGX, in which the GPUs are virtualized so tasks can be shared across multiple GPUs and CPU computing threads. With VGX technology, graphics cards can bypass CPUs and deploy virtual desktops directly. Nvidia has built memory-management capabilities into GPUs for direct deployment of virtual machines. The virtualization technology is supported on the Grid K1 and Grid K2 boards, and could come to Quadro chips in the future.

HP has also announced the new BladeSystem c7000 Platinum chassis, which delivers 40 percent more bandwidth than its predecessor, released in 2006. The chassis will host HP's C-class blades.

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