Well it is February already and I am just now fulfilling one of my New Year’s resolutions – to start blogging more often. So here I go.
Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes chatting with Steve Kaplan, a vice president at INX, a Cisco reseller. Steve is also the author of the blog “By the Bell” where late last year he compared Cisco UCS to HP BladeSystem Matrix. He and I had the chance to compare our points of view on the applicability of blades. Needless to say, our point of view here at HP is quite different from Steve’s support of UCS.
Here is a summary of a couple of areas that perhaps Steve and I do not yet see eye to eye.
1. We at HP do not see UCS as comparable in functionality to BladeSystem Matrix, which we believe is in a category by itself. Why is this? Unlike other offerings that manage servers or VMs one at a time, Matrix uniquely allows customers to provision and manage the infrastructure of an entire application all at once – all the servers, VMs, storage, networks, and server images – through a service catalog based provisioning portal. Further, Matrix also has built-in capacity planning tools and disaster recovery tools that are not found in UCS.
2. We believe that data center power and cooling are substantial costs and challenges for customers and warrant significant attention. It appears to me that Cisco has largely ignored this in their UCS design. Not mentioned in Steve’s analysis is the ability for BladeSystem to throttle the power consumption of most chassis components that consume power including CPUs, memory, fans and power supplies to keep infrastructure running efficiently all the time. Also not mentioned is that UCS requires up to double the amount of data center power allocated per server compared to BladeSystem.
While Steve’s analysis is very detailed, he omits general descriptions of the very capabilities of BladeSystem and BladeSystem Matrix that have made BladeSystem the most popular blades platform on the planet – with over 1.6 million blades sold. (These can be found at www.hp.com/go/bladesystem and www.hp.com/go/matrix). Anyone interested in hearing more of what I have to say about converged infrastructure and BladeSystem can check out this Information Week article.
I appreciate Steve taking the time to write on blades, one of my favorite topics! I hope the dialogue over what customers find important for their IT infrastructure continues, as this is an important topic for our industry. Our many years in the blades business has taught us a lot, and we always look forward to the opportunity to share with customers the technologies we can bring to help them save time, reduce power and cut costs associated with managing IT infrastructure, all while becoming more efficient.
By Karl Paetzel
HP Enterprise Solution Alliances
This week HP announced new investments to extend the value of BladeSystem Matrix through our ISV partnerships. Matrix is HP’s integrated offering of platform hardware, software, and services that delivers a shared-service IT infrastructure. It greatly simplifies the way organizations can deploy resources for business applications.
Because it’s standards-based, Matrix works out-of-the-box for many enterprise business and infrastructure software applications. To make it even easier for customers, we’re working with industry-vertical and infrastructure software partners such as:
· Red Hat
· Siemens PLM
Through integration testing, we’re delivering best practice white papers and Matrix ISV application templates. These templates drop into Matrix’s Insight Dynamics provisioning tools and automate best practices for infrastructure on-demand.
ISV solutions on HP BladeSystem Matrix help you to deploy infrastructure faster, manage it more efficiently, and use repeatable solutions. The bottom line is that it saves you money, optimizes your infrastructure utilization, and lets you spend more time on innovation.
Find the latest Matrix ISV solutions at www.hp.com/solutions/matrix. For more detailed technical information about the HP BladeSystem Matrix ISV Solutions, please read Joe’s blog
We've been on the Adaptive Infrastructure journey at HP for several years now. This week we are announcing an important milestone: BladeSystem Matrix. We've been really thinking a lot about how customers use IT and ways we can optimize IT infrastructure to make it work better for them. We recognize that infrastructure exists for applications, which exist for the business. So we've taken a business and application perspective on how an infrastructure ought to operate.
Deploying an application typically requires an IT architect or team of architects to carefully design the entire infrastructure - servers, storage, network, virtual machines - and then hand off the design to a team of people to deploy, which typically takes several weeks. This length of time is mostly an artifact of the way IT infrastructure is designed. So we decided to change this with BladeSystem Matrix. Now an architectural design is saved out as a template - servers, storage, virtual machines, network, server software image. Then when it is time to provision an application, it's as easy as saying "make it so" - and in a matter of minutes, the Matrix's converged virtualized infrastructure is automatically configured and the application is ready to run. In other words, the way it ought to be.
BladeSystem Matrix is the culmination of several years work at HP - creating an Adaptive Infrastructure that is simpler to buy, deploy and keep running optimally. Applications are easier to provision, maintain, and migrate. We've spent years proving out this architecture, not just in our labs but in real-world environments, with BladeSystem, Virtual Connect, and Insight Software - so we could learn how IT really operates - and more importantly - how it ought to operate.
Some people tell me Matrix's virtualization sounds sort of like a mainframe. Others say that the portal interface reminds them of cloud IT. I guess in a way they are all correct. But unlike those environments, Matrix will run off-the-shelf x86 applications. So I guess I've decided that Matrix is it's own thing.
I know a lot of you think technology marketing is full of crap <<or insert your own colorful descriptor>>. I know we can sound that way. It's one of my pet-peeves too.
I also know that some of you may hear a term like "Thermal Logic" and your "marketing-crap' sirens start to go off. So today I wanted to take a moment to explain in plain English the concept of Thermal Logic technology and to show you that it's not a make-believe idea, but a practical approach that HP is taking to address your bigger power and cooling issues in the data center.
It's a very simple idea really. Make the data denter more energy efficient, simply by making it more intelligent.
That's it. No green-ovation, grandious claims or a high brow vision, just a statement of how the power and cooling problem must, and will be addressed by HP.
Here's where that came from. Back in 2003-2006 (even earlier in the mind of Chandrakan Patel in HP Labs), when a lot of our current power and cooling technology was being created in the lab, intelligence was a common theme. Whether it was smarter fans, smarter power supplies, smarter drives, smarter CRACs, smarter reporting and metering, or smarter whatever; putting intelligence behind the problem of power usage came up again and again.
We described the problem as "you can't manage what you can't measure". If every component, system and data center understands its need for energy as well as the total supply of energy, it could take action to conserve every watt of power and every gram of cold air. What we find is that in most cases, every component, system and data center allocates more energy that what it really needs and often wastes energy that isn't being used to do effective work.
Now, back to today.
Every, I repeat EVERY, technology vendor in the world today is building systems with more efficient parts. Big deal. This is basic 'bread and water' today and quite honestly, if your vendor isn't doing everything they can to squeeze every watt out of the basic components, you need to look elsewhere. HP, IBM and Dell all have access to the latest chips, drives, DIMMs, etc. I imagine Cisco is even figuring out who to call these days.
Every vendor is also able to show power savings with virtual machines. Big deal. Taking applications off of a bunch of out dated power hog servers and putting them on fewer, more efficient ones saves a bunch of energy. Again, is there a vendor that can't do that too?
99% of the claims that vendors make to differentiate themselves and claim "power efficiency" superiority are based on these 2 concepts: the lastest systems with the latest, most efficient components versus last years' model and comparisons based on using virtual machines. Even worse, it's done with a straight face and backed up with claims with based on stacked benchmarks comparing today's lab queen design versus the last generation just isn't helpful to anyone.
The data center power problem is so much bigger than a benchmark at any one point in time. Power consumption is happening every second of every day over years. I know that's a lot of variables to consider: tempurature, humidity, workload, usage and growth. That's why intelligence is so darn important. It's a big, complex problem. I only wish I had a magic benchmark with a magic number that could prove my claim definitively in every circumstance. It can't. Nor can anyone else.
Only HP, I repeat ONLY HP, is inventing energy-aware components, systems and data centers. And yes, we call it Thermal Logic technology. Last week, the ProLiant team announced their next generation servers and talked a lot about the concept of a 'sea of sensors'. Those sensors are the starting point to collect the data need.
Here's another example to make this real for you: Dynamic Power Capping. I shared with you in the past a demonstration. Now that you're getting our unique point of view, I'd like to share with you the technology details behind it in this new whitepaper "HP Power Capping and HP Dynamic Power Capping for ProLiant servers"
Read this and you'll quickly see that Thermal Logic isn't IT marketing crap. It's a real answer to the real challenges every datacenter in the world is facing - the rising demand and cost for power and cooling.
Every time a competitor introduces a new product, we can't help but notice they suddenly get very interested in what HP is blogging during the weeks prior to their announcement. Then when the competitor announces, the story is very self-congratulatory "we've figured out what the problem is with existing server and blade architectures". The implication being that blades volume adoption is somehow being constrained by the very thing they have and everyone else is really stupid.
HP BladeSystem growth has hardly been constrained; with quarterly growth rates of 60% or 80% and over a million BladeSystem servers sold. So I have to wonder if maybe we already have figured out what many customers want - save time, power, and money in an integrated infrastructure that is easy to use, simple to implement changes, and can run nearly any workload.
Someone asked me today "will your strategy change?" I guess given the success we've had, we'll keep focusing on the big problems of customers - time, cost, change and energy. It sounds boring, it doesn't get a lot of buzz and twitter traffic, but it's why customers are moving to blade architectures.
Our platform was built and proven in a step-by-step approach: BladeSystem c-Class, Thermal Logic, Virtual Connect, Insight Dynamics, etc. Rather than proclaim at each step that we've solved all the industry's problems or have sparked a social movement in computing; we'll continue to focus on doing our job to provide solutions that simply work for customers and tackle their biggest business and data center issues.
data center 3.0
Dynamic Power Capping
x86 server market