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.

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!

Three Opinions (But One Counts More)

I saw three new opinions about BladeSystem last week. 



First, PC World Latin America announced that the HP BL490c G6 virtualization blade won in the "Best Server" category of the annual PC World Latin America 2009 Awards.  These awards honor the "best digital & IT products available in Latin America", and I'm proud to see this virtualization-oriented blade got recognized.   (HP's been active in Latin America for a long time --  back in 1968, HP helped in the broadcasting of the Mexico City Olympic Games.)


A second opinion came from a market research company.  This one caught my attention when Cisco's Omar Sultan pointed out that Gartner had placed Cisco in the "Visionary" area of Gartner's Magic Quarter for blades, a section also occupied by Liquid Computing.  Omar says that category holds companies with of keen insights into blade usage, but as one comment points out, little track record for delivering on that vision.


That led me to the Quadrant itself,  where it looks like HP has been placed in the "Leaders" quadrant.  I’d agree with that – it signifies solid vision, along with the ability to deliver on that vision.  Obviously one criteria for demonstrated leadership is a satisfied base of users, which points me the third (and most revealing) opinion I saw last week.


Bytemark Hosting, a web hosting provider that calls itself the "nerd-hosting outfit of choice", let HP write a case study about their infrastructure based on BladeSystem.  It uses virtualization blades (specifically the ProLiant BL495c), HP Virtual Connect Flex-10, and carvable storage from the SAS-connected HP StorageWorks MSA2000.


But the slots-and-watts of what the guys put together what stood out to me.  It's what Bytemark's Peter Taphouse said about the impact of the system.  He said  BladeSystem’s improved uptime can actually boost the company’s revenue (by as much as 5%), because it delivers an SLA that lets Bytemark reach a new, untapped set of customers.


Now THAT'S an opinion on BladeSystem that's truly eye-opening.  It's not that BladeSystem earns awards, or that it helps guide data centers toward the future.   It’s that BladeSystem users say it doesn’t just cut costs, but it can also expand the reach of your business.


 

Virtually (and literally) #1

This week we released VMMark results for the new HP BL490c G6 server blade.  The scores establish the BL490c as
the highest performing 2-socket server blade for virtualization -- eclipsing blades offered by IBM, Dell, and Cisco.


By the way, this 2-socket result ( 24.24 at 17 tiles) follows just on the heels of our #1 4-socket blade result for the BL685c G6.


It's particularly revealing that the BL490c tops the Cisco B200-M1, since Cisco trumpeted performance on VMWare as a centerpiece
of their Unified Computing System.  Cisco engineers deserve lots of kudos for their innovative work on UCS.   Their UCS ideas seem very network-centric, though, and I think
the BL490c's VMMark result shows the benefits of looking at performance problems from the data center level, rather than just from the
CCIE's perspective.


To get this high performance, our engineers designed the right compute server (with high memory bandwidth and capacity),
and coupled it with lots of NICs and bandwidth provided by Virtual Connect Flex-10.  (We also bring in the right storage, too.)


Yet the breadth of HP BladeSystem means we can deliver that performance for vSphere, but not compromise on other workloads. 
No compromises in Top500-style high performance computing, for example, or for many, many other workloads.


Bonus: HP's high-performance virtualization solution (including the HP BL490c G6 server blade and HP Virtual Connect Flex-10) are available today.
Cisco's UCS?  Well...I just hope Cisco starts shipping that product sooner than Duke Nukem Forever.


 

Learn more about Solid State Disks (SSDs)

With all the buzz about solid state disks (SSDs) you’d think it was a brand new thing. For over 25 years, technologies in the consumer world have been using solid state storage technology to improve how information is created and shared. information What’s new is the way business and technology trends are influencing the adoption of new solid state storage technology designs in the enterprise data center.

I ran across this website and a great tech brief about the good and bad of SSD technology so you can make up your own mind and decide if SSD is right for you.


 

Did we miss something?

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.

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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 ISS Central team and a launch manager for new products and general communications manager for EMEA ISS specific information.
  • Hello! I am a social media manager for servers, so my posts will be geared towards HP server-related news & info.
  • 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.
  • Network industry experience for more than 20 years - Data Center, Voice over IP, security, remote access, routing, switching and wireless, with companies such as HP, Cisco, Juniper Networks and Novell.
  • 20 years of marketing experience in semiconductors, networking and servers. Focused on HP BladeSystem networking supporting Virtual Connect, interconnects and network adapters.
  • 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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