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.

HP Tech @ Work: Scalable and Mission Critical Windows Solutions

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
critical environments.


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.


Finally, there
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.


HP mission
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.




HP-UX 11i v3 on YouTube


Well, it is a slow news week in the enterprise space, so I figured that I would send out something fun. We've recently posted a couple of videos about the high level value proposition for HP-UX 11i v3. They are available at:







Of course, there are a number of other videos on YouTube. They include the Disaster Proof video from a few years ago, posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMCHpUtJnEI. I actually have a piece from those blown up systems, and I've seen many other pieces, courtesy of one of my former managers who was actually there when they blew up the systems. While the video includes HP-UX 11i, it also includes Windows, Linux, OpenVMS, and NonStop running on HP Integrity servers. Proof, once again, that HP delivers resilient, mission critical environments.



Solaris to Windows Migrations

Based on all the news around Oracle and Sun, I know that there are a lot of Sun customers considering their options, especially if they are looking to replace older systems as the economy stabilizes and they are looking towards some growth next year. HP, and most of our competitors, offer a whole host of offerings for Sun customers who are looking to move. One of those options, especially since most people are already running Windows in their environment, is moving some of their mission critical applications to Windows, either in a scale up or a scale out environment.

I got an e-mail from a co-worker, Dan, that I though I'd pass along. It may be of interest for people who are considering application redeployment on Windows.


Hi Jacob,


I know you are aware of the robust program HP has for users of Sun equipment to help them migrate to HP in light of the uncertainties surrounding Sun.   This is the Sun Complete Care program .


But I want you to also know about a special part of this program.  We have teamed up with Microsoft and Intel to help those Sun users who may be thinking about moving to a windows environment.  Windows on HP servers is a wonderfully cost-effective, reliable, and scalable alternative to Sun.  It is also backed by three of the most stable and innovative companies in our industry.  To introduce Sun users to the program we are recording a series of webinars that cover the topic of Sun migration to HP,  Microsoft, and Intel, in general as well as one each focusing on SAP and business intelligence (BI).  They are very informative and cover many of the whys, hows, and cost implications of such a move.


The webinars can be found at  http://www.bitpipe.com/detail/RES/1256737022_263.html


In addition you can check out the joint HP/Microsoft/Intel web site established for this program at http://www.SecureFutureNow.com.



Best regards,


Mission Critial and Windows

I've read some feedback about this blog that it seems to focus on HP-UX 11i and high end servers. While HP-UX 11i, OpenVMS, HP Integrity Non-Stop, and high end servers in general are definitely designed with mission critical workloads in mind, they aren't the only mission critical systems that are available, even within HP. Today, we'll look at a couple of other options.

First, HP has announced its availability of Windows Server 2008 R2 (PDF - http://h20341.www2.hp.com/integrity/downloads/Announcement_page_for_Windows_2008_R2_for_BCS_Scal.pdf). One of the key upgrades is support for 256 Logical Processors, allowing Windows to scale to the full 64 sockets, 128 cores, and 256 threads of a HP Superdome. There is even a demo available at http://h30431.www3.hp.com/?fr_story=108083959c3c5b8d6a20c2e7ff222e4eefa0d9e2&rf=bm.

Why is this important? While I spend a lot of time dealing with HP-UX, I have met a number of customers who have standardized on MS SQL server as their database of choice for their business. I've spoken to customers who run credit card businesses, all on Windows and SQL server. I've heard about tax authorities running on Windows. I've heard of large SAP instances running on Windows at a brewing company. I know of plastic manufacturing companies who rely on Windows on HP Integrity servers. These organizations and many more, likely could take advantage of the additional scaling, since they run very large workloads on these systems. Oh, and scaling isn't just about throwing more processors at a workload. A system needs to balance processor, memory, and I/O capabilities, and HP Integrity servers do that.

However, scaling isn't the only feature, or even a requirement, for all mission critical systems. One statistic that I've heard, although I don't remember where, is that Windows crashes approximately 1/3 of the time on Integrity versus a standard x86 server. Why? HP Integrity servers, at the high end and the entry level, have additional hardware reliability features, such as double chip spare technology so that it can handle double bit memory errors, something that will make many other servers reboot.

But what if you want to run mission critical Windows, get some reasonable scaling, but don't want the extra reliability of HP Integrity servers? Naturally, we have HP ProLiant servers, including the DL 785 G6, which now scales to 48 cores. I've spoken with a number of sales reps about this system, and its predecessor, the DL 785 G5.  I've consistently heard two things about workloads on this type of server: database and consolidation. While a big box for database use is a pretty straightforward use case, using a big box for consolidation using virtual machines takes a little more thought.

Why? Well, one of the benefits of server consolidation and virtualization is the reduction in overhead. If you have one workload, you need to size it for peak demand, even if the average demand is much lower (let's say a peak of 8 CPUs, but an average of 3 CPUs). If you had two standalone servers with this workload size, you would need 16 CPUs. But, if these workloads don't peak at the same time, you might be able to get away with a single server with, say, 12 CPUs, a 25% savings. Oh, and HP Capacity Advisor, part of both the HP Virtual Server Environment (http://h71028.www7.hp.com/enterprise/cache/258348-0-0-225-121.html) for HP Integrity servers and HP Insight Dynamics - VSE (http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/management/insightdynamics.html) for HP ProLiant and HP Bladesystem x86 servers, and show you exactly how much capacity is actually required.

But, the big savings isn't from sharing two workloads. As you increase the numbers of workloads, the chances of all the workloads being busy at the same time decrease. That means that you need fewer CPUs, memory, and I/O to handle all the simultaneous workloads. When used in this manner, larger servers can run a lot more workloads than smaller servers (as a general rule of thumb), and operate at higher levels of utilization, and require less hardware to get the same amount of work done. Whether it is a HP ProLiant DL785 running or a HP Superdome, the idea is the same. And with the increase in Windows scalability, both cases work well.

Do you use Windows in a mission critical environment? If so, what workload are mission critical for you? Have any interesting stories around this? If so, let me know.


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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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