Monday, April 06, 2009

ProLiant G6 Launch Information

We launched the latest generation of ProLiant servers, G6 last week which includes 11 new and updated servers; all based on the Intel Xeon 5500 (Nehalem EP) CPUs. The Intel 5500 CPUs are designed for our 1P and 2P servers with the 4P Intel ‘Nehalem EX’ and AMD Opteron ‘Istanbul’ G6 2P/4P servers due later this year.

The G6 servers offer hugely increased performance, reduced power consumption, and greater configuration flexibility with 50-100% increase in the amount of RAM per server, common slot power supplies, LOTs (32) of sensors for increased performance per watt, more local disks (e.g. 16 SFF disks in a DL380) and more options for our RAID controllers with 2x performance. All of this means more increased consolidation ratios with more virtual machines per server, more workloads per server, larger databases on less expensive hardware and much more.

As expected there are a lot of materials to support such an important product launch and here are a few of the best resources

  1. ProLiant & BladeSystem G6 Portal Page 
  2. The Virtual IT Center
  3. NEW - Memory Configurator Tool
  4. NEW - Power Advisor Tool
  5. G6 Technology Overview

Further Details…

Memory Configurator - As stated the G6 servers have a lot more flexibility in terms of server components and in particular the RAM options are numerous. To help you decide what the best RAM configuration is for your server we have made a memory configuration tool available – see link #3 above.

Power Efficiency - As you are now probably aware, in most cases it costs more to power a server over 3 years than it does to procure the server in the first place. HP has always placed a major emphasis on power utilisation in our servers with technologies such as Power Regulator and Dynamic Power Capping. These technologies already allow ProLiant and BladeSystem customers control power usage accurately and intelligently without impacting performance; fitting more servers in the same power budget thereby delaying or postponing altogether expensive upgrades to computer room power and cooling infrastructure.

The power efficiency, management and control has been further enhanced in the G6 range with power supplies tailored for specific workloads leading to massively increased energy efficiency. You can now choose the power supply that best fits the usage profile of the server – again helping to ensure that the server can be operated at it’s most efficient. The new HP Power Advisor tool will help you choose the right combination of components for the workload the server will perform – see link #4 above.

G6 platforms have over 30 sensors that enable us to have a complete picture of the environmental condition within the server. We now have the ability to dynamically modify the fan speed to suit the thermal conditions of different zones within the system and can even turn fans off if they are not required. Compare this with older platforms in which we had 6 or more fans continually running (each using potentially up to 12W) and you start to see how we can dramatically reduce power usage and make the new systems more power efficient.

The combination of increased performance and energy savings are showing dramatic ROI figures with as fast as a 3 month payback compared to 3 year old G4 servers and 9 month payback compared to previous generation G5 servers. The key message here is that the performance and energy savings alone of G6 servers compared to older servers; in particular pre 2006 is so big that the payback for investing in G6 technology is extremely quick and it makes sense to upgrade now rather than later.

Management Tools – Of course the other major cost in IT today is the administration of systems both virtual and physical. In fact the cost of the actual hardware has decreased in the past 10 years but the cost of powering and administering those same systems has increased enormously. The acquisition costs of server hardware accounts for only 10% of the servers total TCO over 3 years. HP Insight Software with the HP Insight Control suite and Insight Dynamics toolset is designed to not only reduce administration costs but also increase uptime and system availability. Check out the demos and webinars here.

Increased Performance -The new Intel architecture provides a significant increase in performance and combined with the additional memory footprint, will enable customers develop more scalable platforms for virtualisation. Early benchmark results indicate that G6 platforms have over doubled virtualisation performance, supporting up to twice the number of VMs per system compared with G5 platforms.

More Disks - Internal storage has also seen a marked improvement – the 1U DL360 G6 now supports up to 8 x SFF SAS/SATA drives whereas the 2U DL380 G6 now supports up to 16 x SFF or 6 x LFF SAS/SATA drives. Both support the use of the new StorageWorks RDX Removable Disk Backup System DL Server Module – a ruggedised SATA disk solution up to 500GB that is designed for continuous data protection and/or backup purposes. The module is available in an external form factor for the DL360 G6 and as an internal module for the DL380 G6. In case you hadn’t heard we now have the 300 GB 10K SFF SAS drive available and also the new 146GB 15K drive is shipping.

2x Smart Array RAID Performance - The new disk capabilities are significantly enhanced by a new generation Smart Array controller family that offers up to 200% greater performance and 100% backward compatibility. The new modular design is the industry’s first to scale from entry RAID solutions, for small and medium businesses, to high end RAID functionality, for larger enterprises, all through the simple addition of hardware and software expansion options.

Servers Overview

HP ProLiant BL490c G6 Server Blade

QuickSpecs - Web

The new BL490c G6 blade server supports up to 144GB memory and 8 internal NICs as standard when used with Virtual Connect Flex-10 interconnects.

HP ProLiant BL460c G6 Server Blade

QuickSpecs - Web

The BL460c G6 and BL490c G6 blade servers both now ship with an embedded dual-port Flex-10 10GbE Multifunction server adapter which provides 2 x 10GbE ports which can be configured as 8 internal NIC connections with Virtual Connect Flex-10 interconnect modules.

HP ProLiant BL280c G6 Server Blade


DL360 G6 and DL380 G6


The DL360 G6 and DL380 G6 are both now capable of supporting up to 144GB of memory and the new architecture enables customers to optimise the memory configuration for a number of different scenarios.

Other models include the DL370 G6 the #1  2P server in VMware benchmarks, the ML370 G6, ML350 G6, ML150 G6, Dl160 G6 and DL180 G6.

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Special thanks to my colleague Mike Harpur for his input in this posting.


Michael Dross said...

Thanks for the posting. I am very interested in the new DL380 G6's. I feel bad though, I just bought 3 DL380 G5'. :-(

My question, is the new RAID controller driver compatable with the P400's? Reason I ask is. I run Red Hat EL 4, and it supports the P400 with the drivers, if I buy a G6 I wonder if it will support the P410 controller out of the box with the P400 driver?



James Henry said...

Hi Michael - 1st off, you have a very good server in the DL380 G5 and I am sure it will give you all the performance and reliability you require. As regards your specific question I think this will work as we maintain a very high level of software consistency among all Smart Array family products: Array Configuration Utility (ACU), Option ROM Configuration for Arrays (ORCA), Systems Insight Manager, Array Diagnostic Utility (ADU) and SmartStart. Backward an forward compatability is a key feature of HP Smart Array.

Unknown said...

When are the new G6 blade servers going to support CPU's with more than 4 cores?

James Henry said...

Sorry for the delayed reply Scott; we do provide 6 core CPUs in our current G6 AMD based servers such as the DL385, BL465, BL685 and others. Intel based systems will move to 8 cores in 2010.

Steve Cousins said...

Hi James,

I'm looking at some DL160 G5's that we want to use for Virtualization. I know the Intel 5400 chipset has VT but I saw some reports of that not being a VT capable machine. Do you know if it is just a Firmware upgrade to get VT to work on these?