Eye on Blades Blog: Trends in Infrastructure
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Customizing the Matrix Self Service Portal

I was playing around with the BladeSystem Matrix creating some new demo videos, and I thought why not dig into the portal skinning features to create a custom look for my system.


The skinning feature is intended to let companies personalize the portal with their logos and product names, replacing the standard HP skin that ships with the product. In this example, my customer is the fictitious Acme Corporation.


Here are the steps I went through:



  1. Copy C:\Program Files\HP\Insight Orchestration\webapps\hpio-portal.war to my desktop

  2. Rename to hpio-portal.zip

  3. Copy hpio-portal.zip to hpio-portal.orig.zip

  4. Unzip hpio-portal.zip

  5. Browse to the hpio-portal/skins directory, and create a new folder "acme". You should see the following:


  6. Copy your new images into the acme directory. The image names, format, and recommended sizes are shown in the table below. I found there is minor flexibility in the sizes of images you create, but in general things look a little nicer if you stick to the sizes shown in the table.































    Filename



    Format



    Recommended Size in pixels
    (w x h)



    LoginScreenLogo.png



    PNG



    90 x 72



    LoginScreenImage.jpg



    JPEG



    408 x 287



    TitlebarLogo.gif



    GIF



    42 x 26



    TitlebarImage.png



    PNG



    300 x 40





  7. Edit the skinConfig.xml file in the skins directory. Here's my updated content:


    <properties>
         <property><key> personalizeMode                 </key><value>insight</value></property>
         <property><key> skinName                        </key><value>acme</value></property>
         <property><key> brandName                       </key><value>Acme Corporation</value></property>
         <property><key> portalName                      </key><value>Developer Self Service</value></property>
         <property><key> bsaURL                               </key><value></value></property>
    </properties>




  8. rezip hpio-portal directory
    Once you have re-zipped hpio-portal, you might want to open it and check that the top component of the zip file is the contents of the hpio-portal folder, and not a folder called "hpio-portal". Windows XP zip default behavior is to create that top level folder in the zip archive. Compare with the contents of hpio-portal.orig.zip to make sure you get this correct. Otherwise your portal won't restart correctly in the later steps.




  9. rename hpio-portal.zip to myportal.war file




  10. Stop the Insight Orchestration service




  11. Rename C:\Program Files\HP\Insight Orchestration\webapps\hpio-portal.war to hpio-portal.war.orig




  12. Copy myportal.war to C:\Program Files\HP\Insight Orchestration\webapps\hpio-portal.war




  13. Delete the folder in the C:\Program Files\HP\Insight Orchestration\work directory with a name starting with Jetty and containing the name hpio.portal.war




  14. Start the Insight Orchestration service




 Updated Portal


Here's my updated login screen to the self service portal, and a zoom in on the updated window bar after login is complete.



 


ioconfig Command


The ioconfig command in the C:\Program Files\HP\Insight Orchestration\bin folder is a useful utility that lets you switch between skins, for example: ioconfig --skin insight will change back to original skin. See ioconfig --help for more information on this command and options.


Send your examples


I hope this quick overview is helpful to getting you started. Send me examples of your self-service portal customizations!

Swifter, higher, stronger… It’s not just the Olympics’ motto anymore

By Nick van der Zweep


Director of Product Management, HP Insight Software



I hope you’ve heard some of the recent noise we’ve made around key enhancements to our Converged Infrastructure story.  If not, I urge you to check out the news.  We’re accelerating the creation of the industry’s first ‘Infrastructure Operating Environment’ with several cool enhancements to our HP Insight Software portfolio.  Swifter, higher, stronger…! 



As you might guess, Insight Software portfolio plays a critical role and I’m pleased to share several great enhancements for both Insight Control and Insight Dynamics.  We’re now delivering even more value with our 2 core offerings:  Insight Control for essential server management and Insight Dynamics for advanced infrastructure management. Insight Control now includes unlimited server migrations to streamline consolidation.  Likewise, Insight Dynamics now includes infrastructure orchestration and recovery management.  Finally, both Insight Control and Insight Dynamics now include the System Center and vCenter integration resulting from our joint development with Microsoft and VMware ensuring our customers receive the ProLiant and BladeSystem experience they’ve come to expect regardless of their management platform.



Provisioning is another area we’ve concentrated on this round.  Just one cool thing to mention is the ability to provision more than just infrastructure. We now have the ability to provision applications on top of the infrastructure as well. We do this by integrating with HP Server Automation.


 We also want you to be able to optimize your Converged Infrastructure confidently.  Hence, some key enhancements to our capacity planning arena, the main thrust of which is making the whole process faster and even more aligned to business.  We’ve added a host of useful reports that allow you to spot the most likely consolidation candidates, give you a big picture view of how much resources all the workloads are consuming, and even figure our how much each is using to more easily slip into a charge-back process.  


Last-but-not-least is trying to help customers save on disaster recovery costs by now allowing disaster recovery to either a physical or a virtual machine.  You can imagine how this could be appealing in-so-far as you can pack way more applications into virtual machines which could be perfectly OK in a DR scenario.



All of this means that we’re make it easier to manage your Converged Infrastructure:  to make disaster recovery more affordable, expand and simplify the provisioning capabilities, and make consolidation more precise and faster.  So maybe I’m stretching the analogy but it makes me think of that great, concise Olympics motto:  Swifter, higher, Stronger!

Managing HP servers through firewalls with Insight Software


I came across an interesting white paper that identifies possible ways of managing HP servers with HP Systems Insight Manager and Insight Software deployed in the area of the network that is considered more secure than the standard production network. This is not a best practices document. This document provides information that can enable system administrators to create management solutions appropriate for specific computing environments.


Here is the link: ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/c-products/servers/management/hpsim/hpsim-53-managing-firewalls.pdf


Installing and configuring HP-related components in Essential Business Server on an HP BladeSystem c3000 chassis

To fully use the features in the c3000 hardware, you must be able to add and configure software in EBS. This updated customer-viewable document covers installation of SNMP, Support Pack, Management Packs and how to add HP updates into Microsoft® System Center Essentials. See the white paper below.



http://dccappshares01.austin.hp.com/SALES_LIBRARY-PRO/CONCENTRA/Autofed%20Content/UCM/UCM-Concentra/Pub/ucm4AA2-6438ENW/4AA2-6438ENW.pdf



Chargeback Glitch

Here’s a story about unexpected behavior prompted by some chargeback rules at Pfizer.  (By 'chargeback' I mean the budgeting scheme where IT resources are metered, then costs are attributed to the business units that consume them.) 


 

Larry Cannell notes that when department budgets were squeezed, users moved Sharepoint files to non-Sharepoint systems "all to avoid internal chargebacks. In the end...a lot of extra work...but no impact on the bottom line." For HP Bladesystem, tools that let IT departments implement chargeback are nothing new.  There are ways to both measure resource utilization, and to implement high-level chargeback policies   

HP has even added some ground-breaking capabilities here -- bringing continuous capacity planning tools into the x86 space, for example.  We’ve also added server power consumption as a resource that can be tracked historically for chargeback calculation – or even capped so businesses can predict their spend.

You have to think like a non-IT guy, though, to predict how your internal customers will react to your chargeback rules.  Put yourself in the shoes of a line-of-business manager: 


  • People will order from the "Value Menu".  If someone thinks he could squeak by with some minimal level of service, he’s going to try.


  • Square pegs will wind up in round holes.  To an HR guy, using a USB key as the primary backup device for your employee payroll database seems reasonable.


  • Exceptions have legs.  That handshake agreement to charge a little less because the legal department promised they’d use minimal bandwidth?  Ten minutes later, every other department will demand “the “low bandwidth deal”.


  • Don’t put nametags on hardware.  Especially with bladed infrastructure, you need to use language that avoids the impression that groups have “bought a server”.  They’re paying you for a service…How you deliver that is up to you, not them.

 

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  • More than 25 years in the IT industry developing and managing marketing programs. Focused in emerging technologies like Virtualization, cloud and big data.
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