Thursday, November 23, 2006

x86 Server Technology Papers

Check out this great new web page with a complete index of technology papers and guides. It has sections addressing all areas of ProLiant server technology from the architecture, management tools to the supported OS's. For IT professionals, ISS technology papers either explain HP strategy, development, and implementation of key technologies in industry-standard systems or explain how to integrate operating systems and applications software with ProLiant systems to achieve maximum benefit.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Nov 14th - New Product Announcements

HP introduced a whole host of new ProLiant server products on November 14th; most of which have immediate availability.

» HP ProLiant DL320s Server
The new HP ProLiant DL320s server delivers enterprise level features, storage optimization, and high-end performance at an entry level price. The Dual Core Intel Xeon processors, 9TB storage capacity, and DDR2 Memory support enhance this ultra-dense 2U solution for both enterprise and SMB customers.
HP ProLiant DL365
HP is introducing the HP ProLiant DL365, combining AMD Opteron dual-core processing power with Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), PCI-Express, and robust remote management capability for the most complete ultra dense server platform ideal for the full range of scale out applications.
HP StorageWorks SB40c storage blade
HP is introducing the HP StorageWorks SB40c storage blade, a half-height c-Class storage blade featuring support for up to six hot-plug Small Form Factor (SFF) Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) or Serial ATA (SATA) hard disk drives, using the onboard Smart Array P400 for hardware based RAID 0, 1+0, 5 and 6.
HP ProLiant BL685c
HP is introducing the all-new HP ProLiant BL685c server, featuring up to four AMD Opteron 8000 Series processors, up to 64GB of ECC 667MHz DDR2 memory, four embedded NICs, three I/O expansion slots, and your choice of up to two hot-plug SAS or SATA drives, ideal for the most demanding enterprise class applications.
HP ProLiant BL25p G2
The next generation of HP ProLiant BL25p now supports up to two AMD Opteron 2000 Series processors with 1MB L2 cache per core, further increasing 2P blade performance for front-end and mid-tier computing.
HP ProLiant BL45p G2
The next generation of HP ProLiant BL45p now supports up to four AMD Opteron 8000 Series processors with 1MB L2 cache per core, further increasing 4P blade performance for mid-tier and back-end computing.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Interactive HP BladeSystem c-Class 3D Tour

Just found a great new interactve tour of the HP BladeSystem c-Class covering all aspects of c-Class technology including interactive presentations from the development teams, all the key features (Virtual Connect, Thermal Logic, Insight Control Mgmt) explained, a 3D Tour of the BladeSystem and lots of white papers, podcasts and streaming video. Click here to take a look right now!

Monday, November 06, 2006

ProLiant & BladeSystem - Configuration Tools

ProLiant Configurations
The HP Enterprise Configurator is very useful in helping you put together a specific configuration for any HP server and storage products. First step select you country e.g. Ireland - English, then click on configure under the HP ProLiant Servers menu option; then scroll through the complete list of servers and click on the configure button opposite the server you would like to build a configuration for. On the specific product page select the various options (CPU, RAM, Hard Disks etc.) from the drop down list; when finished click configure at the bottom of the screen. The tool validates your configuration, gives you a complete bill of materials, a rack view and lots of options for exporting the results. Click on the link below to jump to the HP Enterprise Configurator.

BladeSystem Configurations
We have built a specific configuration tool for BladeSystem configurations to make building your BladeSystem solution as easy as possible. The tool is available as an online or offline version (simply click on the Download now>> button in the main menu to download and run offline). It guides you through all the steps in building a BladeSystem configuration and the output provides you with detailed configuration data inc. a full bill of materials as well as very detailed power and cooling requirements. Click on the link below to access The BladeSystem Sizer.
Tip: Select the BTO configuration option for Ireland.

Note: You need to register with HP Active Answers to access this tool - this is a very simple, quick and easy process and gives you access to many more configuration tools and sizers inc. VMware, SQL, Oracle, Citrix etc.

Further Questions
If you need help in verifying any of your configurations of have additional questions - please eMail the - if you have a configuration saved please include this in the eMail as an attachment. The Infocenter normally close off configuration questions within 4-6 hours!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Read ZDNets Blog on HP's new super cool fans

HP’s super cool computer fans by ZDNet's Dan Farber -- Inspired by radio controlled model airplanes, HP is developing new fan technologies to cool hardware more efficiently. I talked to Wade Vinson, HP’s fan man and thermal technologist, about the new fan technology, which he said will consume about a third of the power of current computer fans. "We started with an optimum design, whether [...]

iLO Management - Tips & Tricks

What is iLO?
iLO stands for Integrated Lights Out Remote Management. A lot of ProLiant customers don't even know they have this on their server. iLO is an onboard management ASIC providing complete out of band remote managment of the server. Almost all HP ProLiant servers from Generation 2 systems onwards have included the iLO management port as standard.

What does it do?
How would you like complete secure remote management and control of your server? iLO provides this; there is nothing and I mean nothing that cannot be done remotely bar physically touching the server of course. For example - you can power the server down and watch it reboot, jump in and configure the BIOS should you need to; watch the OS load up (note iLO doesn't require an OS to be already installed) and then mount your local desktop USB or DVD to the remote server (it appears as a USB connected device on the remote server). You can even have the server boot from an ISO image on the network should you so wish. This is but a sample of the power and control iLO gives you over your server. Best of all it is all out of band management so it is very secure and you are not using valuable data NIC bandwidth.

Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) virtualizes ProLiant system resources over a network so you are always in control as if you are at-the-server. iLO Standard provides basic remote management features standard with ProLiant servers. The optional iLO Advanced provides key-activated features that enable remote access to system console with full keyboard and mouse control during any server state. iLO Advanced also allows administrators to maintain system firmware or run diagnostics on remote servers from an image on a workstation floppy or CD drive or network web server. These "do-it-yourself" capabilities enable industry leading remote management of ProLiant servers anywhere, anytime from a secure, standard Web browser, command line or script. You get a free 60 day trial license of the advanced pack with every iLO on every server. Customers can register for evaluation licenses for all ProLiant Essentials products online at

Benefits of using iLO.

  • Reduces travel and operational costs:
    iLO users avoid travel costs for administrative, maintenance and remedial activities on systems in remote locations or datacenters. The virtualized system resources allow administrators to perform many system tasks of from any network access point without leaving the office or relying on local assistance.
  • Automates system support functions:
    iLO scripting automates key tasks such as unattended ROM updates for multiple systems simultaneously. iLO integrates with other tools such as HP Systems Insight Manager for seamless execution of administrative tasks.
  • Increases availability:
    iLO Advanced Pack shortens the time to complete administrative, maintenance and remedial tasks by enabling instant remote control of key system resources over a network.
  • Ensures reliable, efficient access and data security:
    iLO provides full remote control over the Internet or LAN without increasing the vulnerability of valuable IT assets to unauthorized access and malicious activity. Industry standard data encryption and directory services based user access provide a reliable, secure remote management infrastructure.

How do I enable iLO?
There are 2 simple ways to get up and running.

1. If the server is powered off
Power the server on and watch it boot - you will see a prompt to hit F8 which will allow you to configure iLO. Every server cotaining iLO ships with a sticker or tag containing iLO default specific information i.e. username and password, DNS name etc. Once you have logged on you can configure iLO with a fixed IP address and configure security parameters for access control.
2. If the server is already power on and running
iLO needs to be plugged onto your ETHernet network and uses TCP/IP (it will request an IP addrss from your DHCP server by default). Every server containing iLO will include a sticker or a tag containing the default DNS name for that specific iLO. You can then check your DHCP server and see what IP address was allocated to the iLO. Open a browser and http to that address. Use the username and password from the tag to gain access.

TIP -Once you have enabled iLO you should remove the tag and change the logon credentials for security purposes. iLO can also integrate with your directory for security logon credentials. If you have lost the tag or sticker with the default logon credentials please contact HP suppport and they will giude you through the process to reset iLO security.

How do I optimise iLO performance?
There are now 2 versions of iLO. iLO 2 arrived this year with the launch of our new cClass Blade servers, G5 Intel Xeon and G2 AMD Opteron based servers. The remote console performance of iLO 2 is amazing and is the equivalent of KVM over IP console switch performance. For iLO 1 users the biggest single request to HP has been to improve the graphical remote console performance which we have done but unfortunately not alot of people know about nor have applied these updates. Bear in mind that iLO technology launched almost 10 years ago with the RiLOE PCI board. The primary purpose being to give administrators complete OS independent, out of band management and remote control of their servers. It was not built for 24x7 management.

Improve Remote Console Performance
There are a number of ways for improving remote console performance some of which are dependent on the OS running on the host server. For Windows 2000 or 2003 servers the simplest and most effective way is by enabling Terminal Services functionality through iLO. This allows iLO to accept Microsoft Remote Desktop Connections on the iLO management port instead of doing this through your data NIC.

Other tips to improve the graphical remote console on Windows servers include...

Server display properties

  • Plain Background (no wallpaper pattern)
  • Smaller display resolutions (800x600 or 1024x768 pixels)
  • 256 color mode or 24 bits per pixel color setting (iLO only)

Server mouse properties (iLO only)

  • Select None for mouse pointer Scheme.
  • Uncheck Enable pointer shadow.
  • Select Motion or Pointer Options and set the pointer Speed slider to the middle position.
  • Disable pointer Acceleration to None (on Windows NT or Windows 2000).
  • Uncheck Advanced Pointer Precision (on Windows Server 2003).

I strongly urge you to download and read the iLO Best Practices Guide v4 published Oct'06 from It is full of advice on how to maximise your iLO performance and productivity with step by step guides and details.

Recent features added to iLO which is available by simply upgrading your iLO firmware

  • Schema-free Active Directory Integration
  • Two-factor authentication
  • USB flash drive virtual media
  • Power Regulator for ProLiant reporting
  • Intelligent iLO Advanced activation keys
  • Terminal Services Pass Through
  • enhanced remote console mouse

iLO Version 1.88 available for download - - Index

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Welcome to my blog on HP ProLiant which I hope will be useful in keeping you updated on developments in ProLiant server and BladeSystem Technologies. I will add blogs relating to various subject areas and how HP ProLiant is helping address real customer problems as well as providing HP partners and customers alike with links to useful configuration tools. If you have any special requests or suggestions please feel free to contact me or leave a comment. I will try to update this site at least once a week - but don't hold me ot that!