Best Hardware - 09 Sep 2003

Are HP's ProLiant servers the BMWs of the enterprise-computing arena? According to Paul Miller, HP's director of Platform Product Marketing—who maintains that "a key attribute of the ProLiant line is that they're continually driving innovation"—the analogy is accurate. The ProLiant line, which even reflects BMW's 300-, 500-, and 700-series branding, cruised comfortably to the top spot in our Best Hardware category.

The ProLiant server family includes entry-level, single-processor systems (the 300 series); 4-way processor systems (the 500 series); and 8-way processor enterprise servers (the 700 series). The DL line, density-optimized for rack-mount settings, provides clustering for data-center and external storage environments. The ML line, maximized for internal storage expansion, provides an in-chassis solution for remote and branch-office environments. The BL line of server blades provides a self-contained clustering solution for high-availability environments.

After you choose a line, you choose an appropriate series. The 300 series is aimed at file-server and Web server functionality, as well as small databases and applications. The 500 series matures to advanced Web scenarios, large databases, and crucial file-server applications. The 700 series is focused on large databases, server consolidation, and multiapplication tasks. Even after you identify your line and series, you have several server options that let you find the perfect fit for your environment. "HP spends a lot of time with customers identifying the sweet spots of form factor, performance, availability, and manageability," said Miller.

The BL line comprises the e-Class series and the p-Class series. The e-Class line provides space efficiency for front-end applications and computational clusters and integrates hot-plug PCI slots and other power-saving components into its dense design. The p-Class series is designed for enterprise applications and features redundant NICs, integrated RAID, and hot-plug SCSI drives.

The ProLiant line consistently scores high marks in several server-computing areas, such as build quality, innovation, service and support response, total cost of ownership (TCO), and industry-benchmark scores. Customers also appreciate the line's consistency in design and functionality over time. According to Miller, "Datacenter administrators like the commonality between the industry-standard ProLiant systems. As HP introduces future generations of ProLiant servers, you'll be able to use your current management tools, regardless of which type of server you're using." Small and midsized business customers who don't have a dedicated IT staff also praise the ProLiant because of its ease-of-management features.

Palo Alto, California
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