Mission Critical Computing Blog
Your source for the latest insights on HP Integrity, mission critical computing, and other relevant server and technology topics from the BCS team.

Meet the HP Integrity Server Builders – Part 2 Flex Fabric, Always On Resiliency

Our HP engineers took a fresh look at the most prevalent challenges IT managers are facing today -- data center complexity and management costs consuming too much darn budget.  That would be enough of a challenge on its own, but our Integrity engineers also need to ensure that any solutions proposed account for the fact that these types of systems strive to never go down and must always be available to handle the most challenging, mission-critical workloads.  What’s a better way to deal with these problems given the extra requirements in a mission-critical environment?  The engineering team took the renowned resiliency of the Superdome along with the efficiencies of blades, combined them and created Superdome 2. 

 

In Part 1 of this Meet the Builder series, I introduced you to Arlen Roesner.  Arlen  provided a demonstration of the common modular infrastructure of our new Superdome 2 platform.   Today I’d like to share a demonstration of the Flex Fabric and resilience innovations packed into Superdome 2, our flagship for the Integrity line of servers.  Wendy Wiehardt, Hardware Design Engineer in our Enterprise Systems Lab also helped create Superdome 2.   In this video, she demonstrates how easy it really is to scale up with Integrity systems.  You can start with a single cell, 2 socket system and scale up to 8 cells and 16 sockets, all in a single enclosure.  If you need even more processing power than that you can connect two enclosures together, and create a 32 socket complex all in a single rack – now that makes life easier.  Wendy also shows you what’s inside the blades, digging into the components such as new Intel Itanium 9300 series processors, NICs, built in I/O, VPARs, DIMM slots, iLO and more.  Superdome 2 is also designed to be easier to manage and more resilient than ever before with over 100 new innovations built in to ensure against downtime.  Our engineers know you don’t want to deal with the hassle and risk of rebooting systems, so she explains more about the numerous resiliency enhancements, and pulls out and replaces a crossbar without having to reboot the system.  Please take a few moments to check out Wendy's demo:

 

 

Let us know what you think of our new systems, and what else you’d like to hear about from our engineers.  If you’d like more detailed information I encourage you to check out our main Integrity site.

 

I’ll share Part 3 of this series in a couple of days.  Hope you find the demos informative.

 

~Cynthia

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The makings of a Converged Infrastructure – a pessimistic view

Hopefully by now you will have started to pick up some basic understanding about what HP is trying to drive around it's new Converged Infrastructure strategy. You will have read that IT sprawl is taking business performance to the breaking point and that 70% of most IT budgets are being spent on operations, and that a shrinking 30% is spent on innovation. This was neatly summarized recently by David Hughes, SAS Vice President International Sales, who stated, “it is going to be increasing more important to be able to leverage complexity as opposed to becoming a victim of it, in a cost constrained environment. This is a growing trend for SAS customers.”  (Reference: Technology at Work press day, in Frankfurt Germany on April 26th, 2010).


HP Converged Infrastructure strategy attacks IT sprawl head on, as it takes an holistic approach to datacenter issues, enabling business to tackle the problems of application, server, storage and network which currently inhibits today’s business agility. For more information check out www.hp.com/go/ci


This is a great approach from HP, but what would a pessimistic view look like from an industry analyst perspective. Would the HP strategy hold up against what industry analysts are predicting? I had the opportunity to hear this POV from a leading industry analyst – Andy Butler from Gartner, who presented at the Technology at Work conference in Frankfurt Germany.


Andy summarized that the current datacenter  – compute, storage and management are all seen as separate stacks by design. This has created multiple islands, all gated by physical clusters, each having very different limitations. This in turn as has led to slower, more siloed and costly deployments for IT to manage.


Andy defines change happening in the follow key areas:



  • Virtualization – The engine room for infrastructure transformation

  • Management Tools – The emerging battle ground for control and collaboration

  • Infrastructure Convergence – built upon a fabrics based architecture


This fabrics based architecture will comprise of a set of compute, storage, memory and I/O components joined through a common Fabric interconnect.


The Promise
A Fabrics based architecture will enable you to:



  • Only buy what you need when you need them

  • Wire once and reconfigure many times

  • The capability to manage from a more holistic standpoint across the fabric


A prediction into the future
Andy predicted that by 2012, 30% of global 2,000 datacenters will be equipped with some fabric based bladed architecture



  • Corollary 1.  90% of these Fabric systems will employ virtualization

  • Corollary 2.  15% of these Fabric systems will be utilized for cloud infrastructures and Services (a gradual trend that will move into the datacenter over the next 5 – 10 years)


Andy’s conclusions



  • Start now and assess the number of Server platforms you currently have within your datacenters

  • Know what you have so you can start to plan around and prepare for a future Fabrics based computing environment

  • Multiple influences are driving the server market towards an x86 architecture, with smaller forma factors and modular fabrics

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About the Author(s)
  • I work as a Master Architect in HP Servers R & D group. I work with teams spread across the lab and outside to build solutions which are highly available on HP-UX, OpenVMS and Mission Critical Linux platforms. In particular I contribute to develop HP Serviceguard clusters, HP-UX Security and Middleware products. I have been with HP for last 17 years and have exposure to HA/DR field from both R & D and customer perspectives.
  • Kirk Bresniker is the Vice President/Chief Technologist for HP Business Critical Systems where he has technical responsibility for all things Mission Critical, including HP-UX, NonStop and scalable x86 platforms. He joined HP in 1989 after graduating from Santa Clara University and has been an HP Fellow since 2008.
  • I’m the worldwide marketing manager for HP NonStop. I’ll be blogging and tweeting out news as it relates to NonStop solutions – you can find me here and on twitter at @CarolynatHP
  • Cynthia is part of the HP ExpertOne team. ExpertOne offers professional IT training and certifications from infrastructure refresh to areas that span across the datacenter like Cloud and Converged Infrastructure.
  • Hi, I work on the HP Servers team as HP-UX worldwide product marketing manager. I´m interested in how customers use our technology and will be blogging about their stories and on how our products evolve to help their businesses be always on.
  • I have worked with NonStop systems since 1982. I am a Master Technologist for HP and am part of the IT SWAT organization, the Cloud SWAT and work with HP Labs. I report into the Enterprise Solutions and Architecture organization.
  • Joe Androlowicz is a Technical Communications and Marketing manager in HP’s NonStop Product Division. Joe is a 25 year journeyman in information systems design, instructional technologies and multimedia development. He left Apple Computer for Tandem Computers to help launch G03 and hasn’t looked back yet. He previously managed the program management team for the NonStop Education and Training Center and drove the development and growth of the NonStop Certification programs.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • I am the Superdome 2 Product Manager. My interest is to learn how mission critical platform helps customers and would also like to share my thoughts on how Superdome has been helping customers and will continue to do so.
  • I work in the HP Servers marketing group, managing a marketing team responsible for marketing solutions for enterprise customers who run mission-critical workloads and depend on HP to keep their business continuously running.
  • Mohan Parthasarathy is a Technical Architect in the HP-UX lab. His primary focus currently is in the core kernel, platform enablement and virtualization areas of HP-UX. Mohan has worked on various modules of HP-UX, including networking protocol stacks, drivers, core kernel and virtualization
  • I’ll be blogging about the latest news and enhancements as it relates to HP Moonshot.
  • 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.
  • As a Managing Consultant for HP’s Enterprise Solution & Architecture group, I collaborate with client business and IT senior management to understand, prioritize and architect advanced use of data and information, drawing insights required to make informed business decisions. My current focus leverages event-driven business intelligence design techniques and technologies to identify patterns, anticipate outcomes and proactively optimize business response creating a differentiated position in the marketplace for the client.
  • Wendy Bartlett is a Distinguished Technologist in HP’s NonStop Enterprise Division, and focuses on dependability – security and availability - for the NonStop server line. She joined Tandem in 1978. Her other main area of interest is system architecture evolution. She has an M.S. degree in computer science from Stanford University.
  • I am part of the integrated marketing team focused on HP Moonshot System and HP Scale-up x86 and Mission-critical solutions.
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