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.

Designing infrastructure the way IT wants to work

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.

Virtual Connect now helps converge infrastructure (and lower costs) even more!

On Monday, April 20th, we announced a new Virtual Connect family member and expanded capabilities for all Virtual Connect products.  We’ve see a great deal of momentum building behind virtualization and infrastructure convergence - and these enhancements will help our customers better meet their goals.


When customers put applications onto fewer servers with virtualization, they increase the needed density of both data and storage networking.  So, customers not only need server virtualization, but they also need to virtualize and converge server I/O.   Last November, we introduced the HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 technology that divides a dual-port network interface controller into 8 FlexNIC ports.  This technology reduces the cost associated with data networking in a virtualization environment by greatly reducing the number of cables, switches and additional NICs needed. 


Now we just announced a new Virtual Connect 8 Gb Fibre Channel module to support the heavy SAN needs of virtual servers.   The HP Virtual Connect 8 Gb 24-port Fibre Channel Module has twice the bandwidth of our 4 Gb Fibre Channel module running at up to 8 Gb on all downlinks and uplinks. Second, it has a total of 8 uplink connections, which is double our current module. Third, it features support for increased server side NPIV support with 255 World Wide Names available per server.  So all together more Virtual Machines can be hosted per server and per set of Virtual Connect Ethernet and Fibre Channel modules.  The result is needing fewer servers AND fewer interconnect modules. Fewer servers and interconnect modules mean a lower purchase cost, simpler set-up and ongoing management, and fewer cables, all able to host more application workloads..  More for less works well for everyone.


We added a new Virtual Connect multi-enclosure stacking feature. Multi-enclosure stacking allows up to 4 BladeSystem enclosures to be connected together into one Virtual Connect Domain.  This provides two big benefits. One, it creates a single simple server connection management domain for up to four enclosures, or up to 64 servers. Second, it also means fewer uplink cables to top of rack or core network ports, further reducing cable and expensive core port costs.


We’ve also enhanced Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager.   The new 1.30 release supports our new Virtual Connect 8Gb Fibre Channel Module, our latest G6 server blades announced last month, and extends the number of supported Virtual Connect domains to 200.  When combined with multi-enclosure stacking, this means that Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager can simplify the set-up and ongoing management of server I/O for up to 800 BladeSystem enclosures or put another way, up to 12,800 servers!  Enabling system administrators the ability to manage the connectivity of up to 12,800 servers will go a long way to making life simpler and less expensive for many of our customers.


So for customers looking to converge infrastructure or increase benefits from virtualization, we hope you let HP and our resellers help you save money, reduce your network complexity, and simplify your IT environment with Virtual Connect Ethernet and Virtual Connect Fibre Channel.


 “Connect More - Spend Less!”


Michael Kendall


ESS Virtual Connect

Consolidation versus Convergence

Words mean things.  At least they do in the real world.  Sometimes I wonder about the IT world.  In the real world, there is a shared understanding of the definition, usage and intent.  You can even look it up in something called a 'dictionary'.  

what are word for?

For some reason, the same word in IT has many different interpretations to many people.  Here are some examples: Clouds. Solutions. Virtualization. Grids.  And we wonder why no one understand what we are talking about.


Here are two words that got me thinking yesterday: Consolidation versus Convergence. According to the dictionary,



Consolidation: the process of uniting : the quality or state of being united ; specifically : the unification of two or more corporations by dissolution of existing ones and creation of a single new corporation


Convergence: the act of converging and especially moving toward union or uniformity ; 2: the state or property of being convergent. 3: independent development of similar characters (as of bodily structure of unrelated organisms or cultural traits) often associated with similarity of habits or environment. 4: the merging of distinct technologies, industries, or devices into a unified whole


Here are the important differences I see.


-   Consolidation is about fewer.  Convergence is about simpler.
-   Consolidation combines things that are alike.  Convergence combines things that are not alike. 
-   Both can have the potential to take cost out.  But convergence has the bigger potential to upset the whole apple cart.
-   When you consolidate, you have the same thing you started with.  When you converge, you have something very, very different.


'Convergence' is the bigger, more interesting idea, don't you think? When I do hear 'convergence' which is rare, it usually sounds like either a far-off vision or like 'consolidation' in a pretty wrapper.   If I had to add another prediction to our "what's hot / what's not list" for 2009, it would be Convergence is HOT. Consolidation is NOT.   As an example, HP Adaptive Infrastructure is lot more about convergence than plain-old consolidation. 

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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 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
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  • 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.
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