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I took a call with Doug Small, Hewlett-Packard’s director of open source and Linux, today as a kind of refresher course on their work with Linux on blades over the past year. It was a mixed bag of IDC server numbers, high performance computing in commercial settings, virtualization and — most importantly — how Linux is going to play a role in all of them.
There’ll be a brief Q&A up on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com later this week on our conversation, but for now know that the blade server is going to play a big role in Linux’s future — according to HP anyway, which sees the market as one it will share competitively with IBM from here on out. If some of my past reporting on HP is any indication, I don’t think that Big Blue shadow is being cast quite as long these days in the Linux server arena.
From IDC’s Server Tracker quarterly report (courtesy of SearchDataCenter.com):
For Linux on [HP's] BladeSystem specifically, HP delivered 8.6% growth when IBM declined nearly 6%.
Small told me that HP expects to grow this market with the help of those customers like YouTube and Facebook that want HPC architecture but don’t want a mainframe. It’s still fairly early on in the blade server ballgame — Small said as much to me — but there seems to be a lot of potential there for Linux, especially when you start factoring in tangibles like shrinking data center floor space and increasing cooling costs.