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 3 Blade Link Redefines Scaling

Today’s data centers are often space constrained and challenged by how to power and cool a complex infrastructure.   Often systems are not flexible enough to adapt as business needs change, especially when mission-critical requirements absolutely must be met without fail.  HP’s Blade Link redefines blade scaling by allowing you to really easily join together and manage multiple blades to create 2, 4 and 8 socket systems that best suit your business needs. Shawn Kroeger, Hardware Design Engineer in our Enterprise Systems Lab helped create the new HP Integrity blade servers and demonstrates how simple it is to scale up with Blade Link and reveals some of the benefits realized (9x performance in half the footprint for example!).  Shawn also takes you on a complete tour of inside and out of the new Integrity server blade if you want to dig into the processors, iLO, DIMM slots, NICs and more.

 

We’ve also included Bruce Henderson from the UNIX systems lab in this video to explain how HP-UX offers optimized performance with the new Integrity servers.  Learn more about 3 key things: 1) Insight Dynamics VSE for maximizing utilization of server resources 2) Serviceguard to maximize availability and service level of resources in your environment and 3) Insight Control Manager to deploy and optimize resources effectively.  Here’s the video:

 

 

This is the final blog in my three part Meet the HP Integrity Server Engineers series.  Part 1 addressed the Common Modular Infrastructure and Part 2 digs into Flex Fabric and resiliency enhancements of Integrity.   Each video is under 7 minutes in length.  I hope you find them useful.

 


Please let us know what else you’d like to hear from our HP Engineers about our mission-critical converged infrastructure.  Comments welcomed!

 


~Cynthia

Impenetrable UNIX






With the HP-UX
11i v3 March 2010
Update shipping, I thought I would cover the third area
of significant improvements with this update. HP- 11i v3 already has a large
number of security features, but this update adds more, making HP-UX 11i v3
more secure.


 


Dynamic
Root Disk
(DRD) allows the root disk to be cloned to an inactive disk. If
patches or changes are made, but for some reason don't work, you can always
revert back to the original image on the inactive disk with just a reboot. To
help improve security, you can automatically synchronize the active image as
well as the clone. For instance, if after you create the clone, you update
passwords, the update passwords can be synced to the clone disk by running DRD
sync. This ensures that any security changes are reflected in the cloned disks.


 


HP-UX 11i v3 has
recently received a an additional security certification. It is the industry's
only UNIX to successfully achieve an EALV4 Common Criteria Certification
against the COTS
Compartmentalized Protection Profile-Operating Systems
(CCOPP-OS PDF).
This certification includes nPars, vPars, and Mandatory Access Control, so you
can now deploy highly secure virtualized environments.


 


In addition to
security certification and DRD syncing, HP-UX 11i v3 March 2010 update adds a
few other security features. Long passwords are now supported, with the maximum
password no being 256 characters. All of the Trusted Mode functionality is now
part of the Base Operating Environment. IPSEC on HP-UX 11i has also been
upgraded to support the latest requirements. It is now IPV6 Logo 2
compliant. IP Filter v17 has also been updated to the latest standard.


 


If you use the
Red Hat Directory Server for HP-UX 11i, it is being replaced with HP
Directory Server v8.1
. This is based off of the open source Fedora 389
directory server. It is included as part of the Base Operating Environment, and
as you would expect for a variation of open source software, no additional fees
or licenses are required.


 


Finally, if you
use HP Integrity Virtual Machines, and specifically Online
VM Migration
, there are a number of improvements that may make your life a
little easier. First, you can now use data encryption whenever you move a
virtual machine, allowing the secure movement of a virtual machine even over a
public network. The Online VM migration is also up to twice as fast as the
previous version, although using the encryption function will slow it down
again. Online VM Migration is now included as part of the Virtual Server
Operating Environment, Data Center Operating Environment, and the Insight
Dynamics - VSE Suite.


 


Overall, the
March 2010 Update makes HP-UX 11i v3 a little more secure.


 


Do you have any
comments on these updates? Will they make your life a little easier or more
secure? Let me know.


 


Jacob


 

HP-UX 11i v3 March 2010 Update Released






HP announced
that the HP-UX
11i v3 March 2010
release is now available. In fact, while the announcement
was today, I believe that it actually started shipping over the course of the
last 10 days in different geographies.


 


What is new
about this update?


 


First,
additional products have been added to the HP-UX
11i v3 Operating Environments
. The key new products included with the
Virtual Server and the Data Center Operation Environments are HP Integrity
Virtual Machines Online VM Migration and Insight Dynamics - VSE Infrastructure
Orchestration
. Insight Control power management has been added to all the
operating environments. This drastically increases the value of the software
that is included in the operating environments, which customers who have
current support contracts get at no additional charge.


 


There are also
product updates: a new version of HP Integrity virtual machines, a new
directory server, additional security certifications, and management
improvements for Logical Volume Manager. If you develop code, HP-UX 11i v3
offers updated tools that comply with newer standards, make porting to HP-UX
11i v3 easier, and help speed up debugging.


Not only does
HP-UX 11i v3 have additional functionality, we've also updated how we deliver
it. Actually, it was earlier this month that we rolled out e-Delivery
for most of the world (China and Japan are in the works). The default for the
HP-UX 11i v3 images and software packages is now a download instead of a
physical media set. Manuals are also electronic, instead of paper. These types
of efforts will contribute to reducing paper manuals by 13 tons and packaging
by 142 tons  across HP by the end of
2010.


 


Finally, it
wouldn't be a proper announcement without a story about HP-UX
11i v3 customers
. For this release, we have published case studies from
customers in the financial sector including Philippine National Bank, State
Bank of India, and Tekstilbank in Turkey.


 


I will likely
blog a little more about this HP-UX 11i v3 release in the next few weeks.  There is a lot of new functionality, and I
will try to cover some of it in a little more depth.


 


Jacob


 


 


 


 


 


 

HP-UX 11i v3: The Results of Integrated by Design






Well, IBM has
announced their first Power 7 servers. They, like they have done in the past,
focused on a few key messages: performance, power efficiency, and system
management. They added details in a few other areas as well, but nothing
drastic beyond a more powerful processor and therefore more powerful systems.


 


Since Intel has
announced the Itanium 9300 processor (Tukwila), but HP hasn't announced its
server line up with these processors yet, doing a head to head hardware
comparison isn't appropriate at this time.


 


However, something
that is shipping today is the UNIX operating system that is supported on each
platform. Power 7 servers support AIX 6.1, and HP-UX 11i v3 is supported on
current and future systems.


 


While I've heard
more than once that people thought HP-UX 11i was dead, indeed, it is still
alive and well. Thanks to the work done by Gabriel Consulting, we have a good
idea of what customers value in each UNIX operating system.


 


From a HP-UX
11i v3 perspective
, particularly when comparing to AIX, a few things pop
out.


 


HP-UX 11i customers
tend to think more highly of HP's virtualization technology, particularly when
you include multi-system virtualization capabilities and management (for
instance, Global
Instant Capacity
and Insight-Dynamics
- VSE
). I wonder if that is perhaps because HP Integrity Servers and HP-UX
11i v3 offer multiple types of virtualization technologies, so customers can
pick the technologies that work best in their environment, and yet use the same
management console for any and all virtualization technologies?


 


This leads directly
to the second thing customers really appreciated about HP-UX 11i - the
simplified, single-pane-of-glass management and management automation. Tools
like HP
Systems Insight Manager
allow the management of physical and virtual
environments. IBM Director appears to offer similar capabilities, but the last
time I checked (and it's been a while), you often get to switch between
different tools (with potentially different log ins, etc.). HP has done the
hard work to truly integrate many of these products, and perhaps customers
actually appreciate it.


 


 The idea of integration continues to the next
reason customers prefer HP-UX 11i - integrated high availability, disaster
tolerance, and virtualization. Not only do all of these products work together
on HP-UX 11i v3, but HP offers a lot of application integration and support.
This includes scripts from the Enterprise
Master Cluster Toolkit, Serviceguard Extensions for SAP or Oracle
, and
Insight Dynamics - VSE
Reference Architectures that show you how to build
everything together and get it to work - quickly, easily, and with fewer
errors.




Overall, it appears that HP customers value the integration that HP designs
into HP-UX 11i v3 - whether the operating environments that simplify ordering
and license management, integrating add on products such as virtualization and
high availability, or the information on how to deploy it with common
applications much easier.


 


So, if you use HP-UX
11i, why do you like it? Any of the reasons above? Or do you have other reasons
for prefering HP-UX 11i?


 


Jacob


 

Are you paying all year for a holiday spike in traffic?

 


Over the years, I've met with many customers who have spikes in their holiday traffic. I've spoken with a southern hemisphere beverage company, who has a huge spike in orders the last Monday morning before Christmas. I've spoken with a customer who's busiest day of the year is the final Friday before Christmas. I've spoken to numerous retailers who have their busiest shopping days at this time of the year. Often, these spikes are 10 times or more higher than the average demand.


 


How do these customers adapt to the high levels of seasonal demand? The first, and most obvious technical way is to provision their systems to handle the peak demand. Of course, that means they are paying for excess capacity for the rest of the year. Having said that, they meet their business requirements, customers are happy, and the IT department keeps their jobs.


 


The alternative of reducing the peak size of the systems, so that they can't handle all the demand, will save a little money on the IT budget. However, every year, there are IT infrastructures that get a surge of demand that they weren't designed to handle, and the company ends up losing customers, their reputation, and a lot more money than the extra capacity would have cost in the first place.


 


Having said that, more and more customers are looking at this environment, and with reduced budgets, they want the best of both worlds. Customers need to handle their peak capacity, but also take advantage of lower costs. At the end of the day, there are two ways that virtualization can help in this situation.


 


First, and perhaps the easiest way, its to take advantage of some sort of flexible financing so that you only pay for additional capacity when you actually need it.  This is the idea behind offerings such as Instant Capacity and Temporary Instant Capacity on HP Integrity servers all the way to truly flexible cloud computing offerings such as Amazon EC2.


 


The second way is to run additional workloads on the systems to use up the extra capacity. This works well, as long as those additional workloads can be released to provide resources for the primary workload when the demand spikes come along. Dynamic hard partitions (nPars), dynamic vPars, virtual machine, and application stacking technologies all make this possible . Freeing up resources can be everything from manually shutting down low priority workloads to automatically shifting resources between partitions to migrating workloads off of a system. I've even come across some unique ways of tackling this problem:



  • locking down the environment for a few months, and shutting off all development and test systems;

  • running on a single node of Oracle RAC for most of the year and expanding to multiple nodes for the holiday rush;

  • migrating production workloads to larger or dedicated systems for a period of time

  • and more.


The good news is that virtualization technologies, such as Insight Dynamics - VSE , whether on HP Integrity servers, HP ProLiant servers, or HP BladeSystem, create an environment where this is not only possible, but relatively easy to do.


 


Actually, these customers have it relatively easy. They know that they will have a holiday spike. They even can generate a reasonably accurate estimate of the workload that their systems will see on those days. They can plan to lock down their environment in advance to free up test or development systems. They can manually resize partitions days or weeks in advance. And since the holiday season is reasonably predictable, they can make there plans well in advance.


 


The nice thing about Insight Dynamics - VSE for HP Integrity is that while it makes it easier to handle the predicted fluctuations, it actually excels in handling the unpredictable spikes and troughs in demand equally well. Since it is automated, tools like the HP Global Workload Manager component in Insight Dynamics - VSE for Integrity can observe and react to changes in the environment in seconds-  not minutes or hours. It automates the rest of the portfolio, including the partitioning, clustering, and instant capacity products to automatically react to changing workloads.


 


At the end of the day, automation of a flexible environment provides the best of both worlds - high levels of utilization (and therefore lower total cost of ownership), but with the ability to handle peak workloads - whether predictable peaks like the holidays, or an unpredictable peak. The best of both worlds - and a less stressful holiday season for all those who work in IT.


 


Jacob

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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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