Converged Infrastructure

How messaging with Microsoft Exchange relates to the latest NFL Strategy

By Evan Morris - Senior Engineer, HP Enterprise Group


If you’re a fan of NFL Football in the U.S., then you’re probably familiar with the latest strategy that NFL coaches are implementing with increasing frequency – different versions of what’s referred to as the Wildcat formation which rely on freakishly athletic, very fast, large quarterbacks who are as likely to run with the ball themselves as to handing if off or throwing it.   


It’s a nightmare for defenses to try and stop, yet many sportswriters believe it’s just another fad that will pass (no pun intended) once all those running quarterbacks get their bell rung (or worse) by some 270lb Linebacker.  


So what does this have to do with messaging? 


Like sports, there are pivotal moments in IT when you face that proverbial fork in the road and have to decide which strategic direction you are going to take.  You may make a bold move that might pay off big dividends later on, or that might result in your star quarterback experiencing a career ending injury.  Do you keep Exchange on high quality, expensive storage, or do you move to less expensive storage to deliver much larger mailboxes to your users?  You may have to decide between a SAN or DAS architecture to facilitate larger, low cost mailboxes.  Or do you move email to the cloud rather than continuing to manage it in your own data center? 


There are two big trends with email driven by Exchange Server.  The first and most obvious is to move email to the cloud.  This assumes lower cost mailboxes and fewer headaches in managing your email because someone else is doing it for you, without the demands of building your expertise and systems first, ensuring that it all works before you put your company on it.  This also presumes you are semi-comfortable with the security offered via a public cloud.


The second trend is the transition of moving off enterprise class storage to lower cost storage.  This demands that you take a different approach to ensuring your email is highly available and resilient.  Both trends present some risk but also promise enormous cost reductions and simplified management so you can worry about more important things besides email.   HP is now offering a new platform that can help you with the second approach.


The ProLiant DL380 has earned the place of being one of the most popular server platforms used to support Exchange.  The DL family of servers are a great platform that customers are familiar with and know they can rely on for critical applications like Exchange.  But the new ProLiant SL Family of servers offer a much higher density platform of 15, 25 or 60 drives per server, with storage capacity built into the chassis, making it ideal for Exchange.  It’s also based on the same ProLiant Gen8 internals as the DL line so it has all the same management tools, like the Smart Array Configuration Utility, Insight Manager and iLO.   


For the next few months I’ll be elaborating on this new platform for Exchange, as we approach HP’s Discover ’13 event in Las Vegas, where we plan to have an SL4540 demo.  I will also be presenting a breakout session at this same event   – “TB1660 – Deployment Strategies for Exchange: Virtualized, Dedicated or Hosted Exchange”.


What next?

Find out more about the ProLiant SL4540

Register for HP Discover in Las Vegas



Evan Morris - BIO


Evan Morris is a Senior Engineer with HP’s Alliances, Performance and Solutions (APS) team within the Enterprise Group.  He has worked as an Exchange Consultant outside of HP as well as within HP’s APS team since first getting his MCSE in 1997.  He’s had extensive experience with Exchange deployments and migrations from older, legacy email applications like MSMail, Lotus Notes, etc.  Evan also helped design HP’s Exchange Sizer, a critical sizing and configuration tool used by HP Solution Architects and HP Channel Partners   More recently, Evan managed the testing of the new HP ProLiant SL4500 line with Exchange 2010 and 2013, which resulted in the publishing of three Recommended Configurations, an ESRP, and two Reference Architecture documents (one for each version of Exchange). 

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