Category Archives: HP-HPE

HP Converged Infrastructure

In the wake of the Cisco, EMC and VMware announcement, HP today is formally announcing the HP Converged Infrastructure.  You can take a look at the full details of this design on HP’s Website, but I wanted to try and simplify:

The HP Converged Infrastrcture is comprised of four core areas:

  • HP Infrastructure Operating Environment
  • HP FlexFabric
  • HP Virtual Resource Pools
  • HP Data Center Smart Grid

According to HP, achieving the benefits of a “converged infrastructure” requires the following core attributes:

  1. Virtualized pools of servers, storage, networking
  2. Resiliency built into the hardware, software, and operating environment
  3. Orchestration through highly automated resources to deliver an application aligned according to policies
  4. Optimized to support widely changing workloads and different applications and usage models
  5. Modular components built on open standards to more easily upgrade systems and scale capacity

Let’s take a peak into each of the core areas that makes up the HP Converged Infrastructure.

Operating EnvironmentHP Infrastructure Operating Environment
This element of the converged infrastructure provides a shared services management engine that adapts and provisions the infrastructure.  The goal of this core area is to expedite delivery and provisioning of the datacenter’s infrastructure. 

The HP Infrastructure Operating Environment is comprised of HP Dynamics – a command center that enables you to continuously analyze and optimize your infrastructure; and HP Insight Control– HP’s existing server management software.

FlexFabric

HP FlexFabric
HP defines this core area as  a “next-generation, highly scalable data center fabric architecture and a technology layer in the HP Converged Infrastructure.”  The goal of the HP FlexFabric is to create a highly scalable, flat network domain that enables administrators to easily provision networks as needed and on-demand to meet the virtual machines requirements. 

HP’s FlexFabric is made up of HP’s ProCurve line and their VirtualConnect technologies.  Beyond the familiar network components, the HP Procurve Data Center Connection Manager is also included as a fundamental component offering up automated network provisioning.

virtualResourcePools

HP Virtual Resource Pools
This core area is designed to allow for a virtualized collection of storage, servers and networking that can be shared, repurposed and provisioned as needed.

Most of HP’s Enterprise products fit into this core area.  The HP 9000 and HP Integrity servers use HP Global Workload Managerto provision workloads; HP Proliant servers can use VMware or Microsoft’s virtualization technologies and the HP StorageWorks SAN Virtualization Services
Platform
(SVSP) enables network-based (SAN) virtualization of heterogeneous disk arrays.

datacenter

HP Data Center Smart Grid
The goal of this last core area of the HP Converged Infrastructure is to “create an intelligent, energy-aware environment across IT and facilities to optimize and reduce energy use, reclaiming facility capacity and reducing energy costs.”

HP approaches this core area with a few different products.  The Proliant G6 server lines offer a “sea of sensors” that aid with the consumption of power and cooling.  HP also offers a Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD)– a container based datacenter that optimize power and cooling.    HP also uses the HP Insight Control software to manage the HP Thermal Logic technologies and control peaks and valleys of power management on servers.

Summary
In summary, HP’s Converged Infrastructure follows suit with what many other vendors are doing – taking their existing products and technologies and re-marketing them to closely align and reflect a more coherent messaging.  Only time will tell as to if this approach will be successful in growing HP’s business.

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What is the HP BladeSystem Matrix?

hpmatrix-webHP announced a while ago a new product they call the HP BladeSystem Matrix.  Okay, well, it’s not really a “product” as much as it is a solution.  HP calls the BladeSystem Matrix “a cloud infrastructure in a box” – which is a good way to look at it.  The infrastructure that is “the Matrix” is simply HP’s BladeSystem chassis, loaded with blade servers and attached to an HP storage SAN.  Add to the mix some automation, via templates, and you have the BladeSystem Matrix.  The secret behind this unique solution is the “Matrix Orchestration Environment“, which combines automated provisioning, capacity planning, and disaster recovery, with a self-service portal into one “command center.”  However, this is not a single software, but a combination of HP Insight Dynamics – VSE and Insight Orchestration .

What’s In a BladeSystem Matrix?

There are two options for the HP BladeSystem Matrix bundle – a Starter Kit and an Expansion Kit.  The Starter Kit is designed to include all of the infrastructure necessary to manage up to 16 blade servers, with the option of adding a HP StorageWorks EVA4400 SAN.   The HP BladeSystem Matrix Starter Kit (hardware components) contains:

  • HP BladeSystem c7000 enclosure, single-phase, single-phase with 6 power supplies, 10 fans
  • HP BladeSystem c7000 Onboard Administrator with KVM option, redundant pair
    HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 10Gb Ethernet modules, redundant pair
    NOTE: No transceivers/SFPs included so that you can choose these options – need to add to order.
  • HP Virtual Connect 8Gb 24-Port FC Module for BladeSystem c-Class, redundant pair
    NOTE: Two [2] Fibre Channel SFP+ transceivers included with each module; therefore, 4 total transceivers per redundant pair.
  • BladeSystem Matrix documentation CD
  • BladeSystem Matrix label attached to 10000 series rack door handle

The part number for HP BladeSystem Matrix Starter Kit (hardware components) is 535888-B21. It is important to note, the starter kit does not contain any blade servers or storage.  Those must be ordered separately.

The HP BladeSystem Matrix Starter Kit (software components) provides HP Insight software licenses for 1 enclosure / 16-server with standard 1 year 24×7 Technical Support and Update Service unless 3-, 4-, or 5-year Support Plus 24 Care Pack uplifts are purchased to increase support and update period. These licenses include:

  • Insight Dynamics – VSE suite for ProLiant with Insight Control suite
  • Insight Orchestration software
  • Insight Recovery software
  • Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager software
  • HP Insight Remote Support Advanced (formerly Remote Support Pack)

The part number for HP BladeSystem Matrix Starter Kit (software components) is TB462A.

Once you have the Hardware and Software Starter kits, then you’ll need to purchase the HP Professional Services – for installation; the Central Management Server (CMS) – a BL460 with 2 CPUs, 12GB RAM; additional blade servers and the storage that you need.

The HP BladeSystem Matrix Expansion Kit (HP part #507021-B21 ) is very similar to the Starter Kit:

  • HP BladeSystem c7000 enclosure, single-phase, single-phase with 6 power supplies, 10 fans
  • HP BladeSystem c7000 Onboard Administrator with KVM option, redundant pair
    HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 10Gb Ethernet modules, redundant pair
    NOTE: No transceivers/SFPs included so that you can choose these options – need to add to order.
  • HP Virtual Connect 8Gb 24-Port FC Module for BladeSystem c-Class, redundant pair
    NOTE: Two [2] Fibre Channel SFP+ transceivers included with each module; therefore, 4 total transceivers per redundant pair.
  • BladeSystem Matrix documentation CD
  • BladeSystem Matrix label attached to 10000 series rack door handle

However, it also includes software licenses for:

  • Insight Dynamics – VSE suite for ProLiant with Insight Control suite
  • Insight Orchestration software
  • Insight Recovery software
  • Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager software
  • HP Insight Remote Support Advanced (formerly Remote Support Pack)

Once again, you’ll need to purchase the HP Professional Services – for installation; then your blade servers and the storage that you need.

As you can see, the HP BladeSystem Matrix is not a new product – it is an easy way to order HP BladeSystem products and use HP services and software to easily get your server infrastructure in place.  Let me know your thoughts – feel free to leave comments.  For more on the HP BladeSystem Matrix, visit HP’s web site at http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/blades/components/matrix/main.html

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HP's Well Hidden Secret Blade Server

bl2x220cg5

BL2x220c G5 (2 server "nodes" shown)

HP’s BladeSystem server offering is quite extensive – everything from a 4 CPU Intel blade to an Itanium CPU blade, however their most well hidden, secret blade is their BL2x220c blade server.  Starting at $6,129, this blade server is an awesome feet of design because it is not just 1 server, it is 2 serversin 1 blade case – in a clam shell design (see below).  This means that in a HP C7000 BladeSystem chassis you could have 32 servers!    That’s 64 CPUs, 256 CORES, 2TB of RAM all in a 10U rack space.  That’s pretty impressive.  Let me break it down for you.  Each “node” on a single 2 node BL2x220c G5 server contains:

  • Up to two Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® 5400 sequence processors
  • Up to 32 GB (4 x 8 GB) of memory, supported by (4) slots of PC2-5300 Registered DIMMs, 667 MHz
  • 1 non-hot plug small form factor SATA or Solid State hard drive
  • Embedded Dual-port NC326i Gigabit Server Adapter
  • One (1) I/O expansion slots via mezzanine card
  • One (1) internal USB 2.0 connector for security key devices and USB drive keys

BL2x220

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may have noticed that this server is a “G5” version and currently has the older Intel 5400 series processors.  Based on HP’s current blade offering, expect to see HP refresh of this server to a “G6” model that will contain the Intel® Xeon® 5500 series processors.  Once that happens, I expect for more memoryslots to come with it, since the Intel® Xeon® 5500 series processors have 3 memory channels.  I’m guessing 12 memory slots “per node” or 24 memory slots per BL2x220c G6.  Purely speculation on my part, but it would make sense.  

Why do I consider this server to be one of HP’s best hidden secrets?  Simply because with that amount of server density, server processing power and server memory, the BL2x220c could become a perfect virtualization server.   Now if they’d only make a converged network adapter (CNA)…

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