HP Streamlines Blade Automation

By Larry Barrett (Send Email)
Posted Nov 13, 2007


HP Monday released Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager, software designed to speed up the tedious tasks of adding, moving or replacing blade servers in the data center.

With Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager, managing and controlling as many as 1,600 blade servers from a single console is a snap.

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As IT managers increasingly turn to virtualization software to improve operational efficiency and reduce energy consumption, they're looking for software applications that simplify the management and automation of physical servers and virtual machines hosting applications and operating systems in data centers.

"It basically solves a big pain point that people don't often talk about," said Paul Gottsegen, vice president of marketing for HP's server group, in an interview with InternetNews.com. "It allows a server administrator to move or add or switch server images from one blade to another without having to go to a LAN or a SAN administrator every time."

Gottsegen said HP is expanding its Virtual Connect technology, which preassigns network and storage connections on an individual blade server, to include up to 1,600 blade servers in the data center. HP said the software eliminates several process steps, reduces administration time and limits configuration conflicts.

"If you have to do some scheduled maintenance or move data on one server to another, it provides one pane of glass for the entire domain," Gottsegen said.

Compass, an IT consulting firm in Naperville, Ill., issued a report in August 2007 claiming that Fortune 1000 companies routinely spend 30 percent more on data center software than necessary, or roughly 6 percent of the total cost of operating the data center.

Mergers and acquisitions, complicated licensing agreements and the divergent agendas of IT staffers and finance personnel were cited as the main reasons companies spend too much on software intended to save money.

HP claims to have shipped more than 10,000 Virtual Connect modules in the past year and more than 150,000 total, providing a pretty substantial installation of existing blade servers primed for the Enterprise Manager application.

The company also released a couple of new upgrades. Its Server Migration Pack Universal Edition now combines virtual and physical migrations into a single tool to speed migration of HP's ProLiant and BladeSystem servers. Its new queued migration feature helps automate, plan and execute multiple migrations at the same time.

The Virtual Machine Management Pack 3.0 will provide central management of Citrix' XenServer, Microsoft's virtual machines, Oracle's Virtual Machine and VMware, reducing downtime interruptions with a new predictive failure alert feature that can relocate virtual machines before a hardware component — a slowing fan or faltering drive — takes the server down.

"Automation can be tricky, and you don't want to overreach and have grandiose claims you can't support," Gottsegen said. "We're marching forward and laying down the infrastructure and plumbing to make the data center more and more automated."

This article was originally published on InternetNews.com.

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