You can't be too rich, too thin or have too much computing power, but you can spend too much money. Since the first server went into a rack, enterprise IT departments have been balancing cost and performance in the data center. HP's ProLiant BL660c Gen8 blade server and DL560 Gen8 server give them new ways to stack the odds.
The single largest operating cost in most data centers is power, and while estimates vary, as much as 50% of that power goes for cooling. Big data, social media and the proliferation of cloud-based applications and mobile clients have spiked demand for server-side processing and throughput. As the installed base grows, so does the cost of energy, further straining IT budgets.
In response, HP is leading the server industry's focus on server efficiency. By optimizing power consumption and increasing server density, data centers can significantly reduce their energy needs. Density coupled with increased processing capabilities provides a more compact management environment for administrators, while producing a much greater compute output for a given floor size.
HP's latest additions to the ProLiant Scale-up (four or more sockets) portfolio have taken the next steps toward addressing power, performance and floor space congestion. Featuring Intel® Xeon® E5-4600 processors, the BL660c Gen8 and DL560 Gen8 were built to deliver industry-leading performance for compute-intensive applications, while reducing the overall infrastructure and management burden. The results are impressive.
The most noticeable features of both the BL660c and the DL560 are embedded intelligence and size. While they offer the computing power of many 4s/4U servers, the DL560 is just 2U high. The BL660c is a full-height, single-slot blade. By increasing server density and enhancing energy efficiency, data centers can reduce their overall rack space profile, cooling requirements and power consumption. As a result, HP estimates break-even times of as fast as three months.
HP has built in a number of embedded technologies to automate these savings. For example, Automated Energy Optimization builds a heat map of the entire server, boosting cooling resources where they're needed and slowing them where they aren't.
Human resources have a cost, too. Optimizing administrative tasks can reduce the amount of time IT spends on routine management - freeing staff to create more value through innovation.
The new ProLiant servers score here as well. HP's ProActive Insight Architecture provides monitoring and automation tools that can reduce the administration workload by up to 69% by assisting provisioning, monitoring, diagnostics and support, thus allowing IT staff to better support corporate business strategies.
From the hardware up, the BL660c and DL560 were built for serviceability. All four CPU sockets and memory modules are placed on the system board for easy access, and the FlexibleLOM card slot replaces the embedded LAN on the motherboard to give administrators a wide variety of options for fabric, port quantity and chipset. Additionally, the DL560 provides up to six full-height card slots (two of them full-length) for maximum flexibility. There's even support for 150 Watt cards.
Savings and efficiency don't matter much if the server can't perform. The ProLiant BL660c and DL560's balanced architecture enable them to command top spots in all cases. Leading SPECjbb2013 and SAP SD 2-tier benchmarks demonstrate the servers' suitability for business processing implementations - including databases, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and batch processing - and the combination of the industry's top floating-point calculations and super-fast PCIe Gen3 I/O provide more than enough horsepower and bandwidth to handle High Performance Computing (HPC) jobs – particularly as control nodes. Finally, in the omnipresent virtualization space, the ProLiant BL660c and DL560 hold the top spots for dense 4-socket servers. High scores across-the-board show that the ProLiants are solid, well-built machines - not just generic servers "cooked" to score well on a specific test.
The Optimum Workloads
Dense 4-socket (and greater) servers like the BL660c and DL560 really show their value in situations that require fast I/O, heavy threading and large amounts of memory. Traditional IT infrastructure operations are often fairly low-demand, so unless you're operating at an incredibly large volume or plan to grow quickly, you may be able to get by with lower-cost, 2-socket servers, like the HP ProLiant BL460c Gen8 server blade or DL360p Gen8 rack server.
As you step up your processing load and number of connections, though, the BL660c and DL560 come into their own. Virtualization, business intelligence and business processing are full of potential bottlenecks that won't slow them down. These Gen8 servers are ideal for replacing aging RISC/Unix systems as well as demanding database workloads - either bare-metal or virtualized.
Much more than some Frankenstein's monster artificially packing in resources to make the form factor more dense, the BL660c and DL560 Gen8 servers deliver all this in a well-architected, superbly built package without compromising on performance, scalability or efficiency.
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