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UL improves flexibility & increases performance with HP ProLiant Gen8 server technology

If you closely examine the electronics devices in your home or office you’ll probably see a mark that’s nothing more than a circle with the letters “UL” inside. The “UL” stands for Underwriters Laboratories and its mark appears on 22.4 billion products around the world. Headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, UL is a global independent safety science company that offers expertise across five strategic businesses: product safety, environment, life and health, verification services, and training through UL University. UL is concerned with the safety aspects of all potentially hazardous products.


UL’s testing and certification services involve almost 20,000 different products, materials, components, and systems, including life-saving devices, fire suppression, fire containment, chemical vapors, and mechanical and automotive equipment. In addition, the company tests and certifies water, solar panels, and “green” products. In 2011, UL reached 3.1 billion consumers across Asia, Europe, and America with safety messages. “Two years ago, we had about 30 data center sites including our three main data centers in Northbrook, Frankfurt, and Hong Kong,” explains Joseph Park, manager of enterprise servers and storage at UL. “Due to mergers and acquisitions, today we’re managing about 50 sites, and the number continues to grow.”


However like many companies, UL needed to provide a flexible server infrastructure for provisioning their own internal projects, managing mergers and acquisitions, and providing disaster recovery. Recently, UL upgraded its servers to the HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8 server models. At its main data center, UL is using several of the DL380p Gen8 servers as VMware hosts and as standalone servers depending on the application needs. In addition, it deployed HP BladeSystem products for the first time, choosing the HP ProLiant BL460c Gen8 server blades in HP BladeSystem c7000 Enclosures. The blades are interconnected with HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric 10Gb Modules. UL believes that the HP BladeSystem populated with the HP BL460c Gen8 server blades can help it be more flexible in meeting the needs of the business. The Gen8 server blades also better support high-growth applications at UL, such as SharePoint Server, that constantly require more RAM, CPU, and storage.


“We standardized on HP servers because of the lights-out capability, the advanced features, HP Systems Insight Manager—all of the tools that come with them,” says Park. The company also recently replaced its Cisco networking equipment with HP 12500 and 5800 Series Switches.


“We see the HP BL460c Gen8 server blades as a good fit for all applications that are general use,” says Park. “When we need to scale an application, we just add another blade to the enclosure. We don’t have to worry about cabling or getting the storage team involved. It reduces a lot of our overhead.”


UL also plans to use the HP BladeSystem populated with HP BL460c Gen8 server blades at its disaster recovery site. “For disaster recovery, we need more horsepower but we don’t have much room, so that’s the perfect candidate for the HP BladeSystem running the BL460c Gen8 server blades” says Park. “If we have the real estate elsewhere or if we need more redundancy at other sites, we’ll probably deploy the DL380p Gen8 servers.”


The lights-out capabilities of HP ProLiant servers were what interested UL in HP server technology in the first place. Now, with the HP iLO Advanced management processors available with HP ProLiant Gen8 servers, UL has a graphical remote console for all core management functions including CPU, memory, temperature sensors, fans, and power supplies, regardless of the operating system installed on the server. “The HP iLO 4 gives us more diagnostics and more control over the server, so that enables us to have a global footprint and manage everything from one location,” says Park.


UL experiences improved flexibility and increased performance after deploying HP ProLiant Gen8 server technology. “With HP Gen8 server blades, HP BladeSystem, and FlexFabric, what used to take me 10 days to provision now takes me about a day,” says Park.


IT improvements

• Provide 90 percent faster provisioning with HP BladeSystem, HP Virtual Connect, and HP Gen8 server technology

• Include eased remote management through a single pane of glass

• Incorporate new IT environments more quickly


Business benefits

• Respond quickly to internal customers by provisioning new hardware quickly

• Provide disaster recovery to keep business up and running


Get all the info on the case study here: UL Case Study

Go here to get all the info on the HP Converged Infrastructure, HP Virtual Connect, HP ProLiant Gen8, and HP BladeSystem.

Richard Talisman | ‎11-10-2012 02:46 PM

It was really interesting to read about UL and what global impact it has on technology. I'm also happy to read that UL chose HP servers - this is a good signal for us to consider to upgrade our existing overloaded servers for a brand new Gen8.

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