Eye on Blades Blog: Trends in Infrastructure
Get HP BladeSystem news, upcoming event information, technology trends, and product information to stay up to date with what is happening in the world of blades.

Displaying articles for: September 2008

We're huge in Japan!!!

It seems our new virtualization blades -- just like Spinal Tap -- is huge in Japan!  Our team just sent over this clip from a recent show-and-tell for reporters overseas.

Roughly translated, he said "Most servers only take virtualization from 1 to 10.  The BL495c takes it from 1 to 11!"

Take a Guided Tour of the HP POD

Stacey Higginbotham with Giga Omni Media was in our neck of the woods last week to take a guided tour of the HP Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD) with Wade Vinson.  If there's one thing you take away, it's just how much passion we have for what we do around here.

Take a look at the full article and some of the latest pics.

I remember back in 2006 when Wade was just the lowly "Fan Man" behind the Active Cool fans in our BladeSystem.  Now it seems I have to show more respect to the "PODFather".


Win a free blade infrastructure

Here's your chance to have the coolest BladeSystem on the planet.  Together with Microsoft, we're launching a contest for 2 lucky businesses to get a total infrastructure overhaul with the latest HP BladeSystem c3000, aka 'Shorty' and Microsoft Small Business suite.  Learn how you could win a new solution valued up to $36,000.

Here's how:  Enter the contest between 12:01am ET on September 24, 2008, and 11:59pm ET on October 20, 2008. Tell us why we should pimp your infrastructure. Be descriptive. And put some heart into it, ok?

When is choice not choice?

Following on the heels of our virtualization launch last week, Dell made a virtualization announcement of their own yesterday.  They announced a variety of third party products they now support and re-announced the blades servers they introduced last week, but this time referring to their virtualization design.  Curiously they compared their two-socket M805 full-height 16-DIMM blade to our four-socket blades, ignoring our two-socket half-height 16-DIMM ProLiant BL495c virtualization blade announced last week.  I guess comparing their blade against an HP blade that is half the size wouldn't have sounded as good.

But what really caught my  attention was their statement in their press release that their strategy is "grounded in choice".  I imagined how this strategy plays out with blades:

Customer "I'd like to choose a UNIX blade please."
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a storage blade please."
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a workstation blade please."
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a half-height blade with 16 DIMM sockets please."
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a two-servers-in one blade for my grid app please"
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a Non-stop blade" please.
   Okay I could go on, but you get the picture. 

As it turns out a lot of customers want these kids of choices.  Why?  Because a blade everything strategy means they can get the time, energy and cost savings BladeSystem offers for more of their IT infrastructure.  They can have a simpler, more consistent way to deploy, maintain, manage and service their infrastructure.  But here again Dell has clearly differentiated themselves, stating that "We are not blade everything".  I guess this is one choice Dell does not want to offer to customers.

It's 3AM. Which blade do you want to manage?

On the blade team, we call it the '3AM rule': Make it so simple to manage that a blurry-eyed administrator can set it up in 15 minutes or less and troubleshoot and fix a problem, even at 3:00 in the morning.  This was the guiding principle behind that bright, shiny LCD screen you see on every BladeSystem enclosure.  In this video, we asked Monty McGraw, one of our lead engineers to explain why we added this practical and useful feature to the Onboard Administrator. 

Watch this video and you'll never think about blinking server lights in the same way again.

Less Power to You

Following up from my previous post on how to measure server power accurately, I'd like to talk about ways you can figure out for yourself what the real power consumption is for your server blades and applications.

Power Calculators

Each vendor has a power calculator to help with power budgeting.  These can be useful for getting pretty good estimates of power consumption.  But because vendors have different methodologies for these estimates, you cannot fairly compare the outputs of one vendor's power calculator to another's.

Measuring Power

As it turns out, measuring power can be rather tricky.  It is critical to set up the measurement equipment just right, and we have frequently seen this done wrong.  Also be sure to measure all of the power being used.  We have seen some people only put power measurement devices on some of the power cords and assumed (wrongly) that others would be the same.  Fortunately with BladeSystems, getting accurate power measurements is really quite easy: the Onboard Administrator provides real-time and historical power consumption built-in.  We have compared power reported from the Onboard Administrator with externally measured power and found the two to be within 3% of one another.  I'll let other vendors comment on whether you can rely on the reported power to be accurate.


Power consumption is strongly dependent on the workload that is run on the server.  Different applications require different amounts of power, and even the same application can vary power widely over time.  Most vendor-reported power measurements use a highly-controlled synthetic benchmark.  This may not be reflective of actual power consumption.  The only way to verify power consumption is to run the applications you plan on using in your production environment.  Some servers may perform better at lighter loads, while others perform better at high load.  Keep in mind also that the same application may vary in load as a function of time, so it is best to measure power over an extended period of time.

Which servers to compare?

When comparing two different vendors for power efficiency, it is best to compare the servers that best fit the performance, manageability, and availability features required for your application and environment.  For instance, if you are running a grid or HPC application, the BL2x220c (2 servers in 1 blade) might be the best fit.  If you are running terminal services, then the BL460c or BL465c with battery backed write cache option would likely be your best fit.  Once you select the best server for your application from each vendor, then you can run the power test.  This might not produce an apples-to-apples comparison, but if you want an orange anyway, then why settle on an apple?

Putting the power in your hands

Hopefully these tips can help.  We know from our own experience that measuring power can be maddeningly difficult.  However, if you follow these tips, then hopefully you can get some meaningful results.  And don't forget, you can read the power consumption straight from the Onboard Administrator, it is accurate and easy. 

Of course measuring power is only half the story - ultimately you want to reduce it.  This is where we provide Thermal Logic technologies and tools to reduce power and help forecast future potential power reductions. 

Why blade servers and virtualization

Earlier this week, we talked about the new virtualization blade and why it's a perfect fit for virtual servers.  


Watch 7 of our most influential customers explain why blade servers and virtualization have been a big win for their business.


Tags: BVid
Labels: why blades

Blade Workshop in London

If there are any folks in London wanting to learn more about blades, here's your chance. But you need to act fastThere is a blade workshop going the 5th of September at Brit Oval stadium in Kennington, London. The event is open to all so, please register here. There are around 32 seats available for each session. 



Details Date Last registration date Free seats
The Brit Oval - Afternoon Session
SE11 5SS
12:15 - 16:30
05.09.2008 04.09.2008 32
The Brit Oval - Morning Session
SE11 5SS
08:30 - 12:30
05.09.2008 04.09.2008 36

Four simple reasons why blades

If you didn't know it, the HP BladeSystem dominates the Netherlands blades market.  Why?  My guess is they keep it simple.  Check out these new videos from our mates overseas.

Save power and cooling

Eliminate a lot of cables

Save administration time

Save datacenter floor space

Introducing the world's first virtualization blade

If you were going to build a blade server for virtual machines from the ground up, what would it look like? That's the question we posed to the blade engineering team.  The ProLiant BL495c virtualization blade was their answer.

Looking at current server designs through the lens of virtualization, they found bottlenecks everywhere they looked.  In order for virtual servers to take advantage of the performance potential of quad-core processors, they need lots of other resources, specifically; memory, I/O and flexible storage. 

First, our engineers doubled the memory to 16 slots and supported up to 8Gb DIMMs.  That delivered 128Gb of memory per blade to divide up across multiple processor cores.  Second, they built in 10Gb network connections, plus the ability to expand to up to 8 connections per blade.  That means plenty of I/O to support VMware channels like motion, backup and production.  For storage, they felt flexiblity was the key because there are many different customer priorities for virtualizations - from performance to capacity to simplicity.  The BL495c offers an incredible array options to connect to different types of external, shared storage plus it's the first HP blade to support high-performance, energy efficienct solid state drives. Their final step was to keep the small size so you could consolidate as much physical hardware as possible.  That means you can pack 16, ProLiant BL495c virtualization blades in one enclosure versus the 8 or fewer possible with other blades that have similar features.

Let us know what you think and leave a comment below.

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About the Author(s)
  • More than 25 years in the IT industry developing and managing marketing programs. Focused in emerging technologies like Virtualization, cloud and big data.
  • I am a member of the Enterprise Group Global Marketing team blogging on topics of interest for HP Servers. Check out blog posts on all four Server blog sites-Reality Check, The Eye on Blades, Mission Critical Computing and Hyperscale Computing- for exciting news on the future of compute.
  • I work within EMEA HP Servers Central Team as a launch manager for new products and general communications manager for EMEA HP Server specific information. I also tweet @ServerSavvyElla
  • HP Servers, Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and ExpertOne
  • WW responsibility for development of ROI and TCO tools for the entire ISS portfolio. Technical expertise with a financial spin to help IT show the business value of their projects.
  • I am a member of the HP BladeSystem Portfolio Marketing team, so my posts will focus on all things blades and blade infrastructure. Enjoy!
  • Luke Oda is a member of the HP's BCS Marketing team. With a primary focus on marketing programs that support HP's BCS portfolio. His interests include all things mission-critical and the continuing innovation that HP demonstrates across the globe.
  • Global Marketing Manager with 15 years experience in the high-tech industry.
  • 20 years of marketing experience in semiconductors, networking and servers. Focused on HP BladeSystem networking supporting Virtual Connect, interconnects and network adapters.
  • Working with HP BladeSystem.
  • Greetings! I am on the HP Enterprise Group marketing team. Topics I am interested in include Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and Management, and HP BladeSystem.
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