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Stephen Shankland

Staff Writer, CNET

Hewlett-Packard on Monday announced a suite of improvements to its Itanium-based Integrity line of servers, including new chips, support for a fourth operating system and new options for running multiple jobs on the same machine.

HP announced the changes Monday, but Chief Executive Carly Fiorina and other executives will detail them during a Webcast on Tuesday.

Itanium arrived slower than co-inventors HP and Intel wanted, but the computer and printer maker is asserting its new server lines are catching on. Itanium-related sales topped $1 billion in 2004, and HP’s Itanium server shipments will match those based on its PA-RISC processor by the end of the year, HP said.

As previously reported, higher-end Integrity servers are available: Intel’s newest top-line Itanium processor offers 9MB of high-speed cache memory, and HP released version 8.2 of its venerable OpenVMS operating system that now can run on Itanium.

OpenVMS joins three other operating systems already available on the Integrity line: Microsoft Windows, Linux from Red Hat and Novell, and HP’s version of Unix, called HP-UX.

Combinations of these four operating systems can be run on the same server through the use of technology called partitioning.

Some of those other operating systems also have gotten a boost. HP supports a pay-per-use program for Windows, letting customers pay on the basis of how much computing power a Windows partition uses. That can be substantially less expensive than buying on the basis of a server’s total capacity.

In addition, through the use of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 from Novell, Linux now can run on 16-processor Integrity servers instead of just eight-processor models, HP said. The improvement came through use of the 2.6 Linux kernel, which is scheduled for use in Red Hat Enterprise Linux in the first quarter of 2005.

A fifth operating system, NonStop, will arrive in mid-2005, HP said. It’s used in very high-end specialty servers that require somewhat different hardware than the Integrity line, however.

HP has a collection of software called the Virtual Server Environment to improve a single server as it juggles multiple jobs.

The company announced its Process Resource Manager 3.0, which automates allocation of resources such as memory, processor power and network bandwidth for HP-UX.

HP also announced version 3 of its HP-UX Workload Manager for automatically juggling priorities on one system and its Global Workload Manager doing the same across multiple servers running either HP-UX or Linux.

The faster processor boosts performance as much as 25 percent. New Integrity models with the chip include the dual-processor rx1620-2 starting at $4,119; the dual-processor rx2620-2 starting at $5,614; the four-processor rx4640-8 starting at $16,600; the eight-processor Integrity rx7620-16 starting at $18,995; the 16-processor rx8620-32 starting at $57,990; and the 64-processor Superdome starting at $185,252.

The systems also can accommodate doubled processor counts through the use of the mx2 technology.