Scott Stallard, senior vice president and general manager of Hewlett-Packard's enterprise storage and servers group, spoke recently about the company's new BladeSystem c-Class hardware line.

Q: What will HP be telling its rack-mounted server buyers? Are you going to be saying that the Blade-System line is your best option? A: Most customers know what they want versus us steering them in any particular way. If you're a small to medium-size business customer and you don't even have a rack, you know you need a pedestal [system], and that's why we are still selling them.

If customers have a more modest data centre, they are still going to buy a rack. Where we see blades coming into play is for customers like ourselves -- we're going through this big [data centre] consolidation. We're tired of 30 per cent utilised stuff sitting around everywhere with too many operations people -- we're just going to take it all and put it in this [blade server] footprint.

The other place you see [blades] is when companies go to build out, as an example, remote replicated sites, [where] you just need an infrastructure in a box and would like to manage it remotely.

Q: You said you're using technologies from HP's NonStop fault-tolerant systems in the BladeSystem line. Which ones? A: We brought over some of the interconnect technology that is part of Virtual Connect [a virtualised wiring architecture built into Blade-System]. We also took some of the technologies in hot-plug interfaces. In the NonStop environment, you can never take your system down to accommodate [changes in devices].

Q: Do you plan to build a NonStop blade server? A: It's going to take a few years, but our plan is to run NonStop -- 100 per cent-availability-type systems -- on these blades that are specially made but still in the c-Class chassis and that have either dual- or tri-modular redundant capabilities. It completely changes the economics equation for NonStop computing. Things that used to be only the domain of banks or stock exchanges -- those things will not be one-off proprietary systems but instead will be environments of these industry-standard blocks that we deploy dynamically.