Thursday, November 19, 2009

Must Read! Virtual Connect for vSphere and Cisco Nexus Documents

The BladeSystem team in HP have just released a couple of great documents on using Virtual Connect and Virtual Connect Flex10 in a VMware vSphere environment as well as discussing interoperability with Cisco Nexus technology. Excellent guides and reference architectures which are a must read if you are a BladeSystem/VMware customer.

Cisco Nexus 1000v on HP BladeSystem: A Reference Architecture for optimal VMware vSphere design using HP BladeSystem (w/Virtual Connect) and Cisco Nexus network infrastructure (click here)

This Technology Brief is designed to better educate the reader on the use of HP BladeSystem (and Virtual Connect) with Cisco Nexus technology. The document reviews all the VMware virtual switch technologies and it specifically addresses the use of VNTag and the Cisco Nexus 1000V vDS. The document is written from a somewhat objective point-of-view and it designed to educate, not sell one technology over another. It reviews how these technologies can be used with each other and it explains how VNTag & VNLink function.

HP BladeSystem Reference Architecture: Virtual Connect Flex-10 and VMware vSphere 4.0 (click here)

The Reference Architecture outlines several configuration scenarios deploying HP Virtual Connect and ESX vSphere technologies. Discussed are some best practices to install and configure virtual connect Flex-10 and VSphere 4 Networking.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Server Selector and Configurator Tools!

Given the amount of choice and new technologies in the ProLiant G6 range of servers a new server selector tool has been made available to help our customers pick the most appropriate server for their business needs; click here.

Don't forget about the memory configurator tool available here and the power advisor tool available here.

Finally when you have decided what you need, you can use the enterprise configurator tool to build your desired configuration here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Matrix is here!

I was at HP Technology@Work in Berlin last week where we launched BladeSystem Matrix.

BladeSystem Matrix is all about bringing together the best in HP technology around servers, storage, networking, power management and infrastructure management into 1 single solution package which includes capacity planning, solution design templates, workflow automation and dynamic power capping.

Imagine being able to drag IT resources such as servers and storage onto a whiteboard and then draw the lines to link them all together and when you are happy with your design click go and it all just happens; imagine being able to offer a self service portal/menu of IT solutions and services to your business.... welcome to the Matrix!

Deploy IT solutions and services in minutes and hours not days or months.

It's just the way IT should be.

Full details available at

Check out this overview video

Monday, April 06, 2009

ProLiant G6 Launch Information

We launched the latest generation of ProLiant servers, G6 last week which includes 11 new and updated servers; all based on the Intel Xeon 5500 (Nehalem EP) CPUs. The Intel 5500 CPUs are designed for our 1P and 2P servers with the 4P Intel ‘Nehalem EX’ and AMD Opteron ‘Istanbul’ G6 2P/4P servers due later this year.

The G6 servers offer hugely increased performance, reduced power consumption, and greater configuration flexibility with 50-100% increase in the amount of RAM per server, common slot power supplies, LOTs (32) of sensors for increased performance per watt, more local disks (e.g. 16 SFF disks in a DL380) and more options for our RAID controllers with 2x performance. All of this means more increased consolidation ratios with more virtual machines per server, more workloads per server, larger databases on less expensive hardware and much more.

As expected there are a lot of materials to support such an important product launch and here are a few of the best resources

  1. ProLiant & BladeSystem G6 Portal Page 
  2. The Virtual IT Center
  3. NEW - Memory Configurator Tool
  4. NEW - Power Advisor Tool
  5. G6 Technology Overview

Further Details…

Memory Configurator - As stated the G6 servers have a lot more flexibility in terms of server components and in particular the RAM options are numerous. To help you decide what the best RAM configuration is for your server we have made a memory configuration tool available – see link #3 above.

Power Efficiency - As you are now probably aware, in most cases it costs more to power a server over 3 years than it does to procure the server in the first place. HP has always placed a major emphasis on power utilisation in our servers with technologies such as Power Regulator and Dynamic Power Capping. These technologies already allow ProLiant and BladeSystem customers control power usage accurately and intelligently without impacting performance; fitting more servers in the same power budget thereby delaying or postponing altogether expensive upgrades to computer room power and cooling infrastructure.

The power efficiency, management and control has been further enhanced in the G6 range with power supplies tailored for specific workloads leading to massively increased energy efficiency. You can now choose the power supply that best fits the usage profile of the server – again helping to ensure that the server can be operated at it’s most efficient. The new HP Power Advisor tool will help you choose the right combination of components for the workload the server will perform – see link #4 above.

G6 platforms have over 30 sensors that enable us to have a complete picture of the environmental condition within the server. We now have the ability to dynamically modify the fan speed to suit the thermal conditions of different zones within the system and can even turn fans off if they are not required. Compare this with older platforms in which we had 6 or more fans continually running (each using potentially up to 12W) and you start to see how we can dramatically reduce power usage and make the new systems more power efficient.

The combination of increased performance and energy savings are showing dramatic ROI figures with as fast as a 3 month payback compared to 3 year old G4 servers and 9 month payback compared to previous generation G5 servers. The key message here is that the performance and energy savings alone of G6 servers compared to older servers; in particular pre 2006 is so big that the payback for investing in G6 technology is extremely quick and it makes sense to upgrade now rather than later.

Management Tools – Of course the other major cost in IT today is the administration of systems both virtual and physical. In fact the cost of the actual hardware has decreased in the past 10 years but the cost of powering and administering those same systems has increased enormously. The acquisition costs of server hardware accounts for only 10% of the servers total TCO over 3 years. HP Insight Software with the HP Insight Control suite and Insight Dynamics toolset is designed to not only reduce administration costs but also increase uptime and system availability. Check out the demos and webinars here.

Increased Performance -The new Intel architecture provides a significant increase in performance and combined with the additional memory footprint, will enable customers develop more scalable platforms for virtualisation. Early benchmark results indicate that G6 platforms have over doubled virtualisation performance, supporting up to twice the number of VMs per system compared with G5 platforms.

More Disks - Internal storage has also seen a marked improvement – the 1U DL360 G6 now supports up to 8 x SFF SAS/SATA drives whereas the 2U DL380 G6 now supports up to 16 x SFF or 6 x LFF SAS/SATA drives. Both support the use of the new StorageWorks RDX Removable Disk Backup System DL Server Module – a ruggedised SATA disk solution up to 500GB that is designed for continuous data protection and/or backup purposes. The module is available in an external form factor for the DL360 G6 and as an internal module for the DL380 G6. In case you hadn’t heard we now have the 300 GB 10K SFF SAS drive available and also the new 146GB 15K drive is shipping.

2x Smart Array RAID Performance - The new disk capabilities are significantly enhanced by a new generation Smart Array controller family that offers up to 200% greater performance and 100% backward compatibility. The new modular design is the industry’s first to scale from entry RAID solutions, for small and medium businesses, to high end RAID functionality, for larger enterprises, all through the simple addition of hardware and software expansion options.

Servers Overview

HP ProLiant BL490c G6 Server Blade

QuickSpecs - Web

The new BL490c G6 blade server supports up to 144GB memory and 8 internal NICs as standard when used with Virtual Connect Flex-10 interconnects.

HP ProLiant BL460c G6 Server Blade

QuickSpecs - Web

The BL460c G6 and BL490c G6 blade servers both now ship with an embedded dual-port Flex-10 10GbE Multifunction server adapter which provides 2 x 10GbE ports which can be configured as 8 internal NIC connections with Virtual Connect Flex-10 interconnect modules.

HP ProLiant BL280c G6 Server Blade


DL360 G6 and DL380 G6


The DL360 G6 and DL380 G6 are both now capable of supporting up to 144GB of memory and the new architecture enables customers to optimise the memory configuration for a number of different scenarios.

Other models include the DL370 G6 the #1  2P server in VMware benchmarks, the ML370 G6, ML350 G6, ML150 G6, Dl160 G6 and DL180 G6.

If you liked this summary why not subscribe to this blog - check out the subscription link in the right hand column. ProLiant_Irl is also now on Twitter - follow us as

Special thanks to my colleague Mike Harpur for his input in this posting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gartner Server Buying Guide

Some good news for ProLiant & Integrity

· HP Blade System No. 1 Web Server

· HP Blade System No. 1 Application Server

· HP Integrity with Oracle No. 1 Database

Click here for more info >> Gartner's Server Evaluation Model

Friday, February 13, 2009

Future of BladeSystem = Light NOT Wires!

Just read a really interesting article from a NY Times Blog on developments in HP BladeSystem taking place in our HP Labs. Imagine an optical mid plane for Blade servers i.e. no wires just lights; well it might not be as far away as you think - there is already a working prototype!!

H.P., Intel, I.B.M. and a small group of other companies have their researchers charging after a holy grail of sorts in data centers. They want to create commercial photonics systems that will replace wires as the principal means of moving data between computing systems and between the components in computing systems. An even more daring pursuit revolves around using light to control data on computer chips.

While the cost of such technology proves too great for mainstream use today, the researchers believe they can bring the price down and demonstrate incredible increases in networking performance through photonics. Such breakthroughs should prove crucial to keeping the overall performance of computers increasing at historical rates, since it’s the communications between things like memory, hard drives and processors that often limit hardware designers today.

During a recent visit to H.P.’s labs, I saw the fruits of Mr. Williams’ labor firsthand in the form of an optical mid-plane for blade servers. (I know, I know, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.)

To read the full blog article click here

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

VMware on HP BladeSystem with Virtual Connect and EVA

HP's Customer Focussed Testing team have just published a great white paper on best practices for running VMware on HP BladeSystem with Virtual Connect and EVA. This is one of our biggest selling enterprise solution stacks right now and this paper tells you, our customers the best way to size it, set it all up and manage it to maximise your investment.

This white paper contains a set of best practices to deploy VMware ESX 3.5 using HP BladeSystem c-Class ProLiant Server Blades and HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) storage, using HP Virtual Connect. The best practices included in this paper will enable customers to realise the benefits of using the virtualisation capabilities of VMware in conjunction with HP server blades, HP Virtual Connect, and EVA, with emphasis on how to combine their functionalities to complement each other.

This paper addresses the following fundamental deployment issues:

  • How to configure and deploy a set of virtual machines on the server blade using VMware ESX Server 3.5
  • How to deploy HP Virtual Connect technology in a blade enclosure
  • How to configure and deploy VMware Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) on an EVA
  • How to effectively manage the overall environment, using a combination of HP management tools and VMware vCenter Server
  • How to configure and utilize the advanced high-availability features from VMware (VMware High Availability [HA], VMware VMotion™, and VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler [DRS]) to deliver and sustain a high-availability infrastructure.

Using the methods and best practices described in this paper will facilitate both the productive planning and the timely deployment of a fully operational VMware ESX Server 3.5 deployment using a combination of HP BladeSystem c-Class ProLiant Server Blades connected to an EVA array via HP Virtual Connect technology.

The guidelines and best practices that follow can ensure the following:

  • Proper configuration and deployment of the entire environment, including the VMware environment, HP server blades, the EVA, and HP Virtual Connect technology
  • Predictable performance characteristics
  • Ease of operation, including the effective use of the advanced HA features

Download Whitepaper Here

The is paper along with many other solution specific best practice documents on Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, SAP and VMware are downloadable from the CFT website on <<click here>>

About CFT?

Working directly with our customers, HP’s Customer Focused Testing (CFT) team creates innovative solutions that address the operational requirement challenges our customers worry about every day:

  • Sizing and configuring your environment to optimize your infrastructure
  • Backing up and recovering valuable business information
  • Creating a highly available infrastructure

Carefully planned and implemented, our Customer Focused Testing Solutions incorporate HP storage, server and software products to bring you:

  • Reduced implementation cost and time
  • Predictable results through documented best practices
  • Optimized performance across all solution components
  • Best possible return on investment
  • Increased availability
  • Reduced risk

Monday, January 19, 2009

What's New for 2009?

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas and the batteries are fully charged up for the new year! It promises to be a fairly hectic one in the ProLiant and BladeSystem space where we will continue enabling our customers to do more with less. Technologies like BladeSystem, Dynamic Power Management, Virtual Connect, Insight Software together with virtualisation will be key enablers to help our customers deliver a best in class IT service to their business while at the same time reducing costs.

300GB SFF Drive Now Available
If you didn't hear before the Christmas holidays - we now have the long awaited 300GB Small Form Factor Hard Drive delivering high capacity and performance at the lowest energy requirement and greatest reliability.

Here are a few quick facts that our customers will care about
  1. This drive provides higher performance than 3.5-inch 15K drives and consumes about 50% less power.
  2. This drive is 70% smaller than 3.5-inch drives and reduces cooling costs through tighter packing and better airflow in the cabinet.
  3. A 2U SFF 10K SAS solution provides 40% more IOPS and 59% more IOPS/Watt than a 3U LFF 15K solution
  4. HP Enterprise drives provide maximum reliability and performance for heavy IO environments and near 100% workloads.
Check out my earlier Blog on Small Form Factor Vs Large Form Factor Drives for more of the benefits of SFF. <<Click Here>>

Server Technology Papers
I have a lot of positive feedback from you on the Technology Papers that our ProLiant and BladeSystem engineering teams publish. The latest edition is now available for download <<here>> and includes such topics as Solid State Drives, Command Line and scripting options for ProLiant Management, as well as an interview with a lead engineer on our AMD based ProLiants. If you like these then the full archive is available <<here>>. Finally if you'd like to search for a particular topic then download this PDF <<file>>.

I liked this one which I just read on iSCSI technology in our ProLiant servers <<click here>>.

These technology publications are now also being made available via Podcasts so if you don't like reading then you can listen i.e. you now have no excuse!!

I will most likely have another post pretty soon as we ramp up some new product announcements which will be keeping me busy - stay tuned and if you find this blog useful you can subscribe by simply entering your eMail address in the subscription box located in the top right hand corner of the blog home page! Until next time...