Well, it is
Thursday morning, and the last day of Tech @ Work. I'm catching one last
session before heading to the airport. While I often blog about HP-UX, this
time I'm trying to learn a little more about Windows, especially for mission
Grizaud, the speaker, started out covering some of the trends in the industry:
things like pressure to reduce underutilized servers, reducing physical servers
using virtualization, and things like that.
Laurence talked about the needs to be scalable,
reliable, and operationally efficient. While scale out is one way to increasing
resources, she focused on scale up solutions. Windows runs on everything from a 2 socket server to a
Superdome with 64 sockets and 128 cores and 256 threads. Windows 2008 R2 now
supports up to 128 cores, up to 2 Tb of memory, and up to 192 I/O slots that
are available on the Superdome. This provides a stable platform for large OLTP,
Business Intelligence, and Data warehouse workloads, for server consolidation
using VMware, Hyper-V, or database instance stacking, or for I/O or memory
constrained applications that require the added scalability.
At the end of
the day, the scaling requirements of your application will usually determine
whether you use a scale up or scale out model. For instance, SQL 2008 R2 will
be able to balance its workload across all 256 logical processors (threads) on
a current Superdome. HP offers servers that can work in either scenario.
If you are going
to add a whole bunch of workloads to a single server, the impact of an outage
is much more serious since it impacts more workloads. That usually requires a
more reliable and resilient infrastructure. A more reliable system means less
problems. A more resilient server means that if there is a problem, the server
doesn't fail and bring down the workloads. This extends to extended distance
clusters to provide availability even if a server, or datacenter, goes down.
is a requirement for operational efficiency. Most customers have Window servers
running somewhere in their environment. If you are looking for a scale up,
mission critical Windows server, it should use the same tools and processes as
you already use on smaller systems. HP includes the HP Insight Foundation, and
offers the HP Insight Control and HP Insight Dynamics across all of our servers
that offer Windows support.
critical Windows servers - offering scalability, resiliency, and operational
efficiency. Do you use scale up Windows servers? If so, what applications do
you run, and what hardware do you utilize.
Well, this is
just about it for me at Tech @ Work this year. It has been a great time with
the new product introductions, meeting customers and colleagues, and listening
to some great speakers. I'm on the road for a few weeks in the APJ region, so
blog updates might be a little more sparse. Hopefully you have found the team
coverage of Tech @ Work interesting.
Wednesday morning at HP Technology @ Work at the Integrity Blades Breakout
Session, delivered by Martin Goldstein. The BL890c i2 blade is the first 8
socket UNIX blade server in the industry.
The new BL8x0c
i2 blade family uses the Boxboro chipset from Intel. It is a common chipset
that HP uses for both Xeon and Itanium servers. For the Itanium processor,
Intel has included memory double chip spare as part of the on processor memory
controller, instead of on a separate memory controller as we have done in the
past. The memory controller now offers 8 memory busses at 800 Mhz per core, or
32 memory busses per socket. In addition, HP still provides 3 DIMM slots per
processor core, or 24 memory slots on a two socket blade.
some time discussing the new Blade Link that connects blades to each other. It
has guides, and is customer installable, as Martin Fink showed in the tear down
the on Tuesday. The BladeLink uses QPI to link up to 4 blades. It uses 5 links
per socket, so no processor is more than 1 hop away, even when you have 8
sockets. The memory bandwidth is about one order of magnitude greater than on
our previous generation servers. Benchmarks, such as the Streams Triad, which
is memory intensive, are showing greater than 9x performance improvements
compared to the previous generation.
highlighted the I/O capabilities of the BL8x0c i2 family. Each blade has 4 x
Flex-10 links. Each Flex-10 link can be separated into 4 FlexNics, since most
customers can't use direct 10Gb links in many situations. HP can also add
Flex-10 capable mezzanine cards. This means that on a BL890c i2 server, we can
have up to 128 FlexNics. This is a whole lot of network bandwidth for an 8
All in all, the
new HP Integrity BL8x0c i2 servers offer a lot of CPU, memory, and I/O
bandwidth, in a very flexible environment. As I've mentioned before, not only
are these very capable servers, but their flexibility allows people to select a
server that fits their needs today, and know that they can easily grow the
system as needed in the future.
What else do you
want to know about these systems? If you have questions, please post a comment,
and I'll try to get additional answers.
Last week, we had a training event for some of our internal as well as partner reps out here in California. One of the topics that I got to present multiple times was Greener UNIX.
I have asked the question, multiple times, about which has a higher importance: increasing server density, or allowing systems to take up more physical room but consuming less power. While I often get a mixed response, with the economy starting to recover, the answer was almost anonymous "help me get more stuff in my datacenter."
Most customers seem to like higher density - but hate the idea that while they might get much more performance, they might only deploy half full racks (preferably with blanking panels in them) since they can only power or cool at a certain density. You get more performance, smaller footprint, and a much better price/performance, performance/watt, and performance/space. Hopefully the half full racks become less of an issue.
I also learned a few things, and got reminders about others:
- Each watt saved on components has a significant multiplier - often >2.5x - by the time you get to the overall power and cooling draw.
- High Efficiency power supplies, such as those used by HP BladeSystem and other HP servers, are great - but may save a few percent of system power usage. Turning on CPU power management, such as Green Active processors in HP-UX, has a much bigger impact on the total power usage than a more efficient power supply.
- At least some of the people who work with customers mentioned that their customers are aware of the power savings features in HP-UX and on HP Integrity servers - even if they haven't implemented them yet. Implementation would be better, but at least people are talking about it.
Needless to say, there was talk around the Intel Itanium 9300 (aka Tukwila) announcement. I've seen some comments on the blog that people want to know about which servers will include these processors. The one comment, from the Intel press release, is "OEM systems are expected to ship within 90 days."
And on a personal note, I'm definitely enjoying the Olympics. However, having been born and raised in Canada, I'm happy to see the Canadian men's hockey team starting to have more success. The games against the Swiss and Team USA, my current home, were stressful to me as a fan. However, after dispatching the Russian team yesterday, I'm hoping to see a Canada and USA rematch - in the gold medal game.
It's February 1, and with a new month comes a new promotion. If you are an IBM or Sun UNIX customer, and are interested in taking a look at HP Integrity blades and HP-UX, we have a new offer for you. It is a Free HP Integrity Blade Starter Kit - basically, a free BL860c - when HP-UX 11i v3 VSE OE and support are purchased from HP. This offer is for new customers only. More details are available at http://h71028.www7.hp.com/enterprise/w1/en/migrate-to-hp/from-sun-starter-kit.html.
It certainly have been a busy day around here, at least for posting to the blog.
Another interesting piece of information just made it into my e-mail inbox. HP is in the process of updating its web site, and you'll see changes show up over the next year or so. However, one that impacts HP bloggers, is that we're moving to a different platform (Lithium) for our social media and community pages. One of the first new community forums on the platform is the Blade Connect Community Blogs. If you want to see what this blog will look like in the future, have at it.