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I've been an employee of Sun Partner company. I've installed interesting servers with enterprise-oriented software services. I had an opportunity to value medium-sized servers against a bunch of entry-level machines.
In the beginning, we used to install bigger machines and have them sliced (electrically or logically) into "domains", a sort of virtual machines. But later, we shifted to a different approach with a plenty of smaller machines. The only reason for this was the cost: the customers prefer cheaper version of the solution.
In my opinion, it would've been wiser if we retained the first type of installations, due to easier servicing, better expansion and lesser downtime. Sure, the system works but it's much harder maintaining it, let alone reconfiguring. The money customer saved on hardware price is less than the money lost in huge reconfigurations downtime and this maintenance contract costs more.
By your review, SuperDome + HP-UX sounds as a properly engineered solution and I believe it is so. But, still, I prefer SPARC + Solaris way much more then any other high level enterprise HW + OS combination :-)