Hewlett-Packard is now shipping Xeon versions of its two year-old ProLiant BL20p blade servers.

The servers, which support up to two processors, will now connect to Fibre Channel storage devices, according to an HP spokesman. They are available in 2.8GHz, 3.06GHz, and 3.2GHz configurations, he said.

Though blade servers initially failed to meet market expectations, HP and IBM are beginning to sell the systems in greater volumes. HP says it has now sold more than 50,000 blades since launching its blade line in January 2002. Recent customers include AgResearch, Telecomputing and Hostopia.com, it said.

IBM claims to have sold 42,000 blades since December 2002, a spokesman said.

Pricing for a single-processor 2.8GHz ProLiant BL20p with 512MB of memory and a 36.4GB hard drive starts at US$2,399. With the 2Gbit/s Fibre Channel card, it costs $3,399, HP said.