Guest blog written by Gary Thome, HP Vice President of Strategy, Industry Standard Servers and Software
Today, HP announces a new generation of servers. Behind this is a bold initiative we call Project Voyager, a multi-year journey aimed at radically simplifying the data center experience for our SMB, enterprise, and service provider customers.
We at HP are provided with the opportunity to talk with a lot of customers. As the server leader, we sell more servers than anyone so it makes sense that we also talk to more customers. In the past two years alone, we’ve had more than 100,000 opportunities to hear from customers about what their challenges are, what they want from a server, and what we can do for them. Through these discussions, we came to an important conclusion: we would need to embed more intelligence into every one of our servers if we want them to better meet the needs of the applications, administrators, datacenter, and support experience - a built-in intelligence that simplifies and automates everything, enabling our next generation of servers to better take care of themselves. Because without built-in intelligence, customers are left on their own trying to make things work.
From there, HP Project Voyager and ProLiant Gen8 were born. At the core of this idea is our new ProActive Insight Architecture. By linking together the intelligence of our ProLiant ROM, iLO, and SmartArray technologies, we are able to create something new: the ProActive Insight Archicture. Think of this as central intelligence embedded on the motherboard of every ProLiant Gen8 server. But we didn’t just strand the intelligence on the server – we connected it to the administrators, the applications, the datacenter, and the support experience with the goal of yielding greater uptime and application performance with less effort on the part of our users and less impact on precious datacenter resources.
Nobody would deny that one of the more over-taxed resources in a datacenter is the administrator who is tasked with keeping the IT infrastructure running. We thought we could ease their workload by putting everything they need to get the server up and running (and keep it that way) in a really easy-to-find convenient location: the server itself. With Gen8, drivers and utilities are stored directly on the server for easy retrieval. The new ActiveHealth Log is like an electronic medical record for your server – keeping track of every useful bit of information from the servers’ “birth certificate”, to any important changes that have been made. We have made leadership strides in dramatically simplifying the industry-wide challenges associated with firmware updates. And all of this is delivered without the need for an operating system agent, because the intelligence is built in.
We all know that performance is always critical, and with the explosive growth of data and data analytics applications, customers are now spending more on servers running storage-bound workloads than on servers running compute-bound workloads. Fortunately, our new SmartArray technology is 100x faster than previous generations, and up to 1000x more resilient in protecting data. The new SmartArray is optimized for Solid State storage but works interchangeably with rotating media, so customers can flexibly optimize for performance or capacity without compromise. This convergence of servers and storage delivers the right platform for today’s high-growth data applications.
While there has been a great focus on cutting power of the servers – and we continue to do that – there has been less emphasis on managing precious datacenter resources. With ProActive Insight, HP is embedding three key services into our ProLiant Gen8s and new intelligent racks: Thermal Discovery Services, Power Discovery Services, and Location Discovery Services. It’s like a GPS for your server. This unique combination (that only HP offers) enables automatic asset tracking, discovery of power wiring errors, rack-level thermal mapping, and optimized server and workload placement. Unlike other manual approaches, the sensors are already built into the servers so this information can be automatically gathered and updated.
We know that keeping servers up and running is critical to business. If the servers aren’t running, the apps aren’t running, and if the apps aren’t running, the business isn’t running the way it is supposed to be. This is why we developed Insight Online, which provides quick and easy cloud-based access to important support details about each customer’s servers – such as inventory, warranty status and hardware status. By connecting HP ProLiant Gen8 servers directly to the support experience, we can cut the time it takes to analyze and resolve issues. Our Proactive services are designed to help customers avoid problems in the first place. Together we can help customers stay up longer and get back up and running if there is a problem. And that is nothing but goodness for your business.
We also believe that by freeing up our customers’ time and datacenters, we can enable them to focus on building bigger solutions, such as Clouds. HP ProLiant Gen8 is an integral part of our converged solutions, VirtualSystem and CloudSystem, which can assist you in doing just that.
As I mentioned earlier, Project Voyager is a multi-year journey so look to hear from us on many more important ideas and innovations still to come. But in the meantime, spend some time exploring what ProLiant Gen8 can do for you.
To learn more about how HP ProLiant Gen8 servers can help you redefine the service experience and transform your data center economics check out www.hp.com/go/proliantgen8