The HP Blade Workstation Solution—A new paradigm in workstation

The HP Blade Workstation Solution—A new paradigm in
workstation computing featuring the HP ProLiant xw460c
Blade Workstation
Executive overview.......................................................................................................................... 2
HP Blade Workstation Solution overview............................................................................................. 2
Details of the HP Blade Workstation Solution ....................................................................................... 4
A real-life example: Deployment of HP Blade Workstations in the finance industry.................................... 10
Summary of the benefits of the HP Blade Workstation Solution.............................................................. 10
Conclusion .................................................................................................................................. 11
For more information ..................................................................................................................... 12
Executive overview
The HP Blade Workstation Solution represents a new paradigm in workstation computing. Rather
than placing the workstation's computing power at the user's desk, the computing power, in the
form of blade workstations, is moved to the data center where the workstations can be more easily,
securely, and inexpensively managed. Centralizing an organization's workstations in the data
center provides many benefits, including.
1. Improved uptime and business continuity—The next-generation remote management capabilities
of the HP Blade Workstation Solution, along with its fault tolerant design and re-provisioning
capabilities, deliver outstanding uptime. To maximize business continuity and interagency
coordination, multi-site blade workstation installations can be created.
2. Enhanced data security—The HP Blade Workstation Solution ensures that your business-critical
data remains in the data center.
3. Reduced IT costs—By centralizing your organization's workstations into the data center and by
taking advantage of HP's robust set of remote management tools, your IT costs can be
significantly reduced.
This paper describes the industry-leading HP Blade Workstation Solution and how this solution
delivers the above benefits as well as many other important benefits. An overview of the solution is
presented first followed by a more detailed description.
HP Blade Workstation Solution overview
The HP Blade Workstation Solution consists of three primary components, as shown in Figure 1:
· The rack-mounted HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation
· The client computer
· HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS)
Figure 1. The HP Blade Workstation Solution featuring the HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation
This symbol denotes the HP RGS
product. The stylistic R stands for
“Remote” while the Greek gamma symbol
stands for “Graphics.”
The user’s applications run
on the blade workstation
desktop image
Client computer
TCP/IP network
Keyboard & mouse
HP Compaq t5720 Thin Client
HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation
The blade workstation, which executes the user's applications, is designed for maximum
performance and can be configured with one or two high-speed Intel® Xeon® dual-core
processors.1 The blade workstation also includes high-speed ECC memory and a dedicated
graphics card that computes and renders the interactive desktop image.
Using RGS, the desktop image is transmitted over the network to the user's client computer, which
displays the desktop image locally. RGS is designed to provide extremely fast capture,
compression, and transmission of the desktop image over standard TCP/IP networks. RGS is also
used to capture the user's keyboard and mouse inputs and send them to the blade workstation for
processing by the OS and the applications running on the blade workstation. For more information
on RGS, visit
The client computer can range from a thin client to a multi-display desktop computer. The HP dc72
Blade Workstation Client, shown in Figure 2, supports up to four displays, providing the
performance and screen real estate for demanding, data-intensive applications. To minimize cost
and maintenance, the OS of the HP dc72 Blade Workstation Client is installed on a solid-state disk.
To improve data security, there are no floppy or optical drives.
Figure 2. The HP dc72 Blade Workstation Client supports up to four displays.
Because of the performance and features of RGS, client computers can be located anywhere, from
near the data center to remote locations, while still providing a highly-interactive experience for the
user. Additionally, RGS supports remote collaboration by permitting the desktop image from a
single blade workstation to be sent to multiple client computers.
Quad-Core and Dual-Core are new technologies designed to improve performance of multithreaded software products and hardware-aware
multitasking operating systems and may require appropriate operating system software for full benefits; check with software provider to
determine suitability; Not all customers or software applications will necessarily benefit from use of these technologies. 64-bit computing on
Intel architecture requires a computer system with a processor, chipset, BIOS, operating system, device drivers and applications enabled for
Intel® 64 architecture. Processors will not operate (including 32-bit operation) without an Intel 64 architecture-enabled BIOS. Performance will
vary depending on your hardware and software configurations. See for more information.
Details of the HP Blade Workstation Solution
At the heart of the HP Blade Workstation Solution is the HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation,
shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Block diagram of the HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation.
Microsoft Windows
XP Professional SP2
USB x 2
Local I/O connector
Small form
serial attached
disk #1
Intel Xeon
dual-core processor
1.86/1.60 GHz
Intel Xeon
dual core processor
Small form
serial attached
disk #2
FX graphics
128 or 256 MB
1 Gb
Dual Broadcom
5708 Ethernet
1.86/1.60 GHz
10/100 Mb
iLO 2
Up to 16 GB
of error-correcting
DDR2 667 MHz
video controller
(1280 x 1024)
iLO 2
The HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation is optimized for performance, including:
· One or two Intel Xeon dual-core processors running at clock rates up to 2.66 GHz.
· The NVIDIA Quadro FX high-performance graphics adapter. The most recent version is the
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1600M graphics adapter.
· Up to 16 GB of ECC, Double Data Rate 2 (DDR2) memory running at 667 MHz.
· Two 1 Gb/s Ethernet ports.
· One or two high-speed Serial Attached SCSI disk drives.
Figure 4 shows the internal view of the blade workstation and its high-density packaging. For
optimum space utilization, the Intel Xeon processors are installed underneath the SAS drive bays.
Figure 4. Internal view of the HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation.
Two hot-plug
SAS drive bays
Windows XP Pro SP2
Slots underneath
drive bays for one or two
dual-core Intel Xeon
Embedded Smart Array
Controller integrated on
drive backplane
64 MB cache for
Smart Array
Graphics Adapter
8 fully buffered DIMM Slots
DDR 2, 667Mhz
The small form factor of the HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstation makes it possible to install up to
64 blade workstations in a single 42U rack, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5. Up to 64 HP ProLiant xw460c Blade Workstations can be installed in a single 42U rack.
16 blade
per enclosure
HP ProLiant xw460c
Blade Workstation
4 enclosures
per 42U
HP BladeSystem
c7000 Enclosure
The innovative HP BladeSystem c7000 Enclosure contains everything needed to support the blade
workstations—hot-swappable power supplies, high-efficiency ducted cooling fans, and a nextgeneration blade management infrastructure.
Once the blade workstations are installed in the data center, they can be allocated to local or
remote users. A single data center can support users at multiple sites, as shown in Figure 6,
providing a high degree of flexibility and optimal use of blade workstation resources.
Figure 6. The blade workstations in the data center can be allocated to users at multiple sites.
HP ProLiant xw460c
Blade Workstations (need correct picture) Site #1
HP RGS is used over standard
TCP/IP networking to connect
client computers to blade
workstations in the data center
Data Center
Site #2
HP Session Allocation Manager (SAM) can be used to optimize your HP Blade Workstation
Solution deployment by automatically provisioning your blade workstation resources to users. SAM
provides the following capabilities with the blade workstation solution:
· Static and dynamic resource assignments—SAM supports two types of resource assignments:
Static resources—With static resources, a user and the user’s client computer are
connected to a pre-defined set of remote computing resources, even when the user
changes location.
Dynamic resources—With dynamic resources, users are assigned remote
computing resources from a pool of available computing resources.
These two types of resource assignments provide significant flexibility in meeting the needs of
your users.
· Single log in—SAM simplifies the user experience by allowing the user to log in just once, even if
the user is connecting to multiple blade workstations. Furthermore, with a multi-monitor client
computer, SAM will automatically position the user’s windows on the monitors connected to the
client computer based on pre-configured information. The net result is that logging into the blade
workstation solution is as simple as logging into a single workstation.
· Follow-me roaming—This feature enables users to move to a different location, and be
automatically re-connected to the computing resources they used previously. In doing so, SAM
automatically adapts to different monitor configurations. For example, let’s assume that a user has
four monitors in the office, each displaying the frame buffer from a different blade workstation. If
the user relocates to home, where there is only one monitor, SAM will re-connect to the live
sessions on the same four blade workstations as before, but will stack the four frame buffer
windows onto the single monitor for viewing. RGS can then be used to cycle between each of the
four windows.
· Automatic failover—SAM can be configured so that if a blade workstation fails, another blade
workstation will be automatically assigned to the task performed by the failed unit. This feature
works for both static and dynamic connections, maximizing the uptime of the blade workstation
solution and the user’s productivity.
· Automatic client aggregation—The blade workstation solution allows multiple client computers to
be aggregated together to form a single virtual client device, operated by a single keyboard and
mouse. SAM can be configured to perform client aggregation automatically, while ensuring that
each client computer connects to its pre-configured set of blade workstations.
· Ease of administration—SAM provides a web interface that allows all parameters of SAM
operation to be easily monitored and changed from a central location. This is much more efficient
than configuring the blade workstation solution by separately logging into each solution
For more information on SAM, visit
The HP Blade Workstation Solution contains extensive built-in management capabilities, most of
which are accessible over the network. For example, as shown in Figure 2, the blade workstation
contains the Integrated Lights-Out 2 (iLO 2) management processor, which provides an independent
means of monitoring and controlling each blade. Furthermore, the blade enclosure contains the HP
BladeSystem Onboard Administrator, which allows IT personnel to collectively monitor and manage
the blades installed in an enclosure, such as viewing the operating status of each blade. Figure 7
shows two example management screens for the blade workstation solution.
Figure 7. HP's blade workstations provide industry-leading remote management capabilities.
The HP BladeSystem Onboard
Administrator allows remote
viewing and management of all
blade workstations
The System Management
Homepage allows remote
viewing of the detailed
status of each blade
The blade workstation's remote management capabilities are critical to providing superior uptime
and reducing IT costs by allowing support personnel to quickly detect, diagnose, and resolve
problems. For example, if a user experiences a blade failure, IT personnel can quickly and remotely
assign a new blade to the user from a spare pool, reducing the user's total downtime to minutes.
RGS is more than just a mechanism for sending the blade workstation's desktop image to the client
access device—RGS is a full-function, real-time collaboration tool. In Figure 8, the desktop image is
shared with three remote users, all of whom can interact with the same application running on the
blade workstation.
Figure 8. RGS can be used in a collaborative environment to share the desktop with remote users, all of whom can view and
interact with the same application running on the blade workstation.
HP ProLiant xw460c
Blade Workstations (need correct picture) Site #1
HP RGS is used over standard
TCP/IP networking to connect
client computers to blade
workstations in the data center
Data Center
Site #2
The HP Blade Workstation Solution ensures that your application data never leaves the data
center—only the desktop image is exported to the users via RGS. Furthermore, the pixels in the
desktop image are encrypted for added security. The interactivity and security provided by RGS
make it ideal for uses such as:
· Financial trading—stream video, market data, and financial trading applications from multiple
workstations to a multi-display trading desk, remote office, or disaster recovery site.
· Classified research and defense—enable highly-secure, high-performance access to sensitive data
and applications.
· Command and control centers—enable a highly-secure, continuous-operation environment by
providing multi-location access to blade workstation resources located in redundant data centers.
· Mobile professionals—enable professionals to efficiently work locally or remotely so they can live
where they choose and work conveniently through an Internet connection.
· Scientific research and visualization—interact with high-performance compute and visualization
simulations from an office and collaborate with colleagues in real-time.
· Support—provide application support to end users by connecting to existing user sessions with
system administrator rights to troubleshoot and resolve issues.
· Classroom training—share live training sessions with one or many students at local or remote
A real-life example: Deployment of HP Blade Workstations
in the finance industry
HP blade workstations have been deployed at a number of firms in the finance industry, specifically
for use on the trading floor. In a detailed follow-up study, the measured benefits included:
· Trader productivity was increased by 68%.
· IT productivity was increased by 32%.
· Disaster recovery and contingency planning were significantly simplified.
· Deployment and installation of blade workstations was simpler and more trouble-free than
installing individual workstations.
· The trading floor work environment was markedly improved—less noise, heat, and clutter.
· Traders were more easily able to work remotely.
For a copy of this study, Blade Workstations in the Securities Industry—An ROI Study, see
Summary of the benefits of the HP Blade Workstation
Summarized below are the benefits of the HP Blade Workstation Solution, and how these benefits
are provided.
1. Benefit: Improved uptime and business continuity.
How provided: The HP Blade Workstation Solution maximizes uptime by providing a number of
fault-tolerant features such as redundant network switches, RAID, error correcting memory, and
hot-swappable power supplies. Furthermore, HP's advanced management features enable quick
detection and correction of hardware problems. In the event of a blade workstation failure,
another blade workstation can be rapidly provisioned to the end user. Business continuity can
be maximized by employing a distributed data center strategy and routing activity to a fallback
data center if the primary data center experiences problems.
2. Benefit: Enhanced data security for your company-critical data.
How provided: With the HP Blade Workstation Solution, your sensitive data is locked in the data
center—only the encrypted desktop image is exported to the users via RGS. In addition, HP's
blade workstation client contains no removable storage media, further protecting your data.
3. Benefit: Reduced IT costs.
How provided: HP's innovative blade workstation solution reduces IT costs in a number of ways,
· By centralizing your workstation resources, support personnel will be able to more easily
manage and support your workstations.
· HP's leading-edge blade workstation management tools enable support personnel to quickly
detect, diagnose, and resolve problems.
· If a blade workstation goes down, IT can quickly provision another blade workstation to the
user without needing to physically visit the user.
4. Benefit: Reduced noise, heat, and clutter.
How provided: Moving your workstations into the data center will eliminate the noise, heat, and
clutter associated with having workstations distributed about in an office environment, providing
your users with a much friendlier work environment.
5. Benefit: Simplified load balancing of the workstation demands within your organization.
How provided: The flexibility to quickly re-assign workstation resources is often necessary,
ranging from a situation where a single user's workstation goes down to a situation where many
workstations need to be re-allocated to handle computationally-intensive task such as a computer
simulation. With the HP Blade Workstation Solution, reassigning workstation resources can be
done remotely and without needing to physically move any equipment or wires. Incorporation of
SAM (Session Allocation Manager) provides additional capabilities to load-balance your
workstations and respond quickly to new requirements.
6. Benefit: Support for users working locally or remotely.
How provided: Because of the performance provided by RGS, users are able to work locally or
remotely with comparable efficiency.
7. Benefit: The ability for teams to securely collaborate from remote locations while allowing the
owner of the data to retain complete control of it.
How provided: With RGS, the desktop image from the blade workstation can be sent to multiple
users, allowing them to view and interact with the same applications. In doing this, the
application data remains securely on the blade workstation.
The HP Blade Workstation Solution is an industry-leading workstation infrastructure that delivers
many important benefits compared to distributed workstations, including improved uptime/business
continuity, enhanced data security, and reduced IT costs. The solution also provides improved user
comfort, better resource utilization, ease of working remotely, and real-time, remote collaboration
between individuals and teams. The HP Blade Workstation Solution, 5+ years in the making, is the
only solution of its kind and has successfully proven itself in very demanding environments,
including on the financial trading floor.
For more information
For more information on the HP Blade Workstation Solution, visit the blade workstation solution
home page at A number of papers on the blade workstation
solution are located under the Learn more tab.
For in-depth information on the blade workstation solution, visit
© 2007 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft
Corporation in the U.S. or other countries. Intel and Xeon are trademarks or
registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and other
The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only
warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty
statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be
construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical
or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.
September 2007