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.

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

Moving from old SPARC to Integrity servers - an excellent Total Cost of Ownership move

If you are running SPARC severs and are looking to improve total cost of ownership for your business critical UNIX environment - look no further than the new HP Integrity servers recently introduced.  In conjunction with this introduction last week, we have developed a new cost of ownership tool that has been posted on the TCO Challenge site.  This new TCO tool shows the cost advantages of moving to an HP Integrity blades infrastructure from a legacy SPARC-based rackmount environment.

I was doing some analysis the other day and came up with some interesting results.  I ran a report for what I consider to be a typical Sun SPARC legacy environment on the Blades TCO tool  - it consisted of two legacy 32-core SPARC servers running the database and eight  4-core application servers. 

The answer that came back was that you could run all the workloads with a single sixteen core HP Integrity BL870c i2 server on an HP BladeSystem.  And you get the mission criticaly capabilities of HP-UX 11i with it. 

Here are the results I got:

Core count reduction:  96 to 16 (that's 6 to 1)

Three Year Cumulative TCO Savings (total):  $4.47 million to $683,000

Return on Investment: 1747%

Payback Period;  3 months

If I were running my business critical operations older Sun SPARC servers, I would definitely take a look at moving to HP Integrity blades.  And there still would be slots available on the HP BladeSystem to put in Integrity or ProLiant blades. 

Server Power, Cooling, and Density, Tukwila, and more...


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.



Free HP Integrity Blade Starter Kit for new customers

 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.



New Converged Infrastructure - Blade Connect Community Blog

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.


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About the Author(s)
  • • Responsible for product management and marketing of NonStop Database, Business Continuity, and Cloud portfolios. Define product line strategy, positioning, branding, and messaging for all products in my portfolio. • Lead the Business Development efforts to build strategic partnerships to strengthen the eco-system. • Lead the GTM around Big Data with new innovative Analytics solutions resulting in incremental revenue opportunities. • Lead product marketing efforts including strategic positioning, Go-to-Market strategy, Sales Enablement and Analyst Briefing.
  • 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.
  • 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´m part of the HP Servers team and work as Product Marketing Manager with a focus on mission-critical offerings. I´m interested in the business value our technology brings to customers and I'll be blogging about their stories and how our portfolio evolves to help them succeed in today´s market.
  • I am a member of the Enterprise Group Global Marketing team blogging on topics of interest for HP Servers. Check out blog posts on all four Server blog sites-Reality Check, The Eye on Blades, Mission Critical Computing and Hyperscale Computing- for exciting news on the future of compute.
  • 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.
  • 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 am a Senior Manager managing external content & social media for HP Servers Awareness. Stay tuned for topics on Mission Critical Solutions, Core Enterprise & SMB Solutions, Next Gen Workload Solutions, Big Data & HPC, Cloudline and HPS Options! Follow me @RubyDatHP
  • 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.
  • Serviceguard for Linux, HP-UX, OpenVMS
  • 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.
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