HP released a new ProLiant blade enclosure with higher server densities designed for cloud computing and other computing-intensive applications.

With up to 32 server nodes in a single 10U blade chassis, the new BladeSystem can scale up to 128 servers, 1,024 CPU cores and 2 terabytes of RAM in one standard-sized rack consisting of four enclosures, HP says. The new blade offers double the density of its HP predecessors by fitting two servers into each slot, says Paul Miller, HP's marketing vice president.

Density and power efficiency are the main advantages of the new blade, dubbed the HP ProLiant BL2x220c G5, Miller says. While cloud computing applications are likely to benefit, the blade is targeted at multiple use cases, such as oil and gas producers who need computing power for geophysical surveys.

"They don't consider themselves clouds," Miller says. "We don't want to pigeonhole this technology in that way."

Some customers are likely to use thousands of these servers for Web 2.0, grid and high-performance computing applications, HP says.

Pricing starts at $6,349 (£3,215) and can go up to more than $20,000 (£10,127). The system comes with either dual- or quad-core Intel Xeon processors, achieving speeds of up to 12.3 teraflops for a 42U rack.

HP's announcement comes about a month after IBM launched a similar line of blade servers called the iDataPlex, which is designed for Web 2.0 and cloud computing environments. While HP doubled its density by loading two servers into each slot, IBM rotated each server 90 degrees, creating racks that hold 84 servers.