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Hewlett-Packard Co. is bringing greater manageability and virtualization capabilities to its blade server offerings as it pushes forward its utility computing initiatives.

Modularity is a key component of HP’s Adaptive Enterprise strategy, and “blades are a very modular aspect of the shift toward utility computing,” Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the company’s Technology Solutions Group, said during a press conference Monday.

HP’s new BladeSystem was one of several utility computing offerings outlined by Livermore and Rick Becker, vice president and general manager of HP’s BladeSystem Division.

The goal is to enable customers to more easily set up and manage a utility computing environment, where data center resources are pooled and easily deployed to meet business demands, and where they pay only for the resources they use.

Blade servers are a key part of that scenario, Becker reiterated. HP expects to generate $500 million in blade revenue in fiscal year 2005, with that growing into the billions by fiscal year 2007. By the following year, about half of the business generated by HP’s scale-out architecture will be based on BladeSystem technology, he said.

Read here about a report on the TCO for utility computing. It suggests that IT managers need to obtain better analytic tools to support purchasing decisions.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company already offers four blade servers based on Intel Corp. processors, ranging one to four chips. Later this year, HP is expected to roll out blade systems powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s 64-bit Opteron processors, and Becker said next year the company will offer blades running its HP-UX Unix operating system.

Intel recently said the 64-bit race will be between it and IBM. Sun and AMD seek to disagree. Click here to read more.

The new virtualization and management capabilities surrounding the servers will be a key in driving that growth, both execs said. Included is the integration of the company’s Utility Data Center into the suite of BladeSystem management tools. UDC enables the virtualization of various data center resources.

Other integrated tools include Systems Insight Manager 4.2, which provides a single console for controlling all system components. As part of SIM 4.2, HP has included Essentials Virtual Machine Management Pack and Essentials Patch and Vulnerability Pack, to manage virtual machines and automated patching of vulnerabilities in the system.

In addition, Essentials Automation Controller Pack simplifies task management across the blades. Upcoming tools in the BladeSystem offering will include Essentials Intelligent Networking Pack to handle network bottlenecks and Essentials Insight Lights-Out 1.62 for easy blade set-up.

In addition, HP announced other modular utility computing offerings incorporating UDC, including Virtual Server Environment, to enable the scaling of resources as needed; OpenView Change and Configuration to automate the configuration of IT resources; and Utility Services to create a pay-as-you-go computing environment.

Check out’s Utility Computing Center for the latest utility computing news, reviews and analysis.