HP has unveiled their 8th generation ProLiant server line, this new Gen8 ProLiant line will replace current G7 line. ProLiant Gen8 line is said to have over 150 customer inspired innovations in its design which improve for example system management capabilities, energy efficiency and performance. Improved system management capabilities emerge from features such as integrated system and OS configuration tool which ease firmware upgrade and OS install tasks. Another touted feature is a new “Smart Socket” for Intel Xeon CPUs which should lessen probability of bent CPU socket pins while installing a new CPU. Server admin or field engineer, just places CPU in the socket and Smart Socket aligns CPU correctly without damaging fragile socket or CPU.
HP Smart Socket
HP didn’t disclose any hardware specifications in their Gen8 announcement but knowing that Intel is about to launch new Xeon CPU line in March it is not difficult to predict what is to be expected about two socket ProLiant Gen8 specifications.
Improved performance and energy efficiency of Gen8 ProLiant line relies on the upcoming Intel Xeon E5 product line from Intel. Intel Xeon E5 is based on Sandy Bridge microarchitecture which has been available for desktop systems since last year. Intel Xeon E5 line is designed for two socket systems and will have up to 8 cores per CPU with hyper threading enabled in other than low end models. On memory side Intel Xeon E5 will have quad-channel DDR3 memory controller which, in two CPU configurations, will support up to 786 GB of RAM when using LR-DIMMs. It remains to be seen whether HP will ship LR-DIMMs with Gen8 ProLiant line.
Intel Xeon E5 specs as leaked by techPowerUp
Intel Xeon E5 models and pricing by CPU World
Intel Xeon E5 CPUs will support new Data Direct I/O (DDIO) technology which allows I/O devices to send data directly to CPU cache without need to go through main memory. There is no word how this will work with virtualization layer in place but generally speaking DDIO should improve I/O performance significantly. To work, DDIO will require support from I/O device in place.
Intel Data Direct I/O Technology as leaked by techPowerUp
Intel Xeon E5 CPUs are expected to be officially launched on 6th of March in CeBIT trade-show, we have to wait official Gen8 specifications until that date.
On external design HP will join DELL in spicing up boring looking servers with a stylish front bezel. New front bezel includes a lock to limit physical access to a server but other than that it has very little value, unless you business relies on looks of your data center.
HP ProLiant Gen8 systems
Let me end with some marketing videos from HP.