Scalent Speeds Virtual Server Deployments on HP Blades

By Andy Patrizio (Send Email)
Posted Nov 27, 2007


HP has struck an exclusive deal with Scalent Systems to offer the Scalent Virtual Operating Environment (Scalent V/OE) with HP's blade systems, providing a fast install and recovery option for virtualized servers.

With the latest partnership between HP and Scalent, HP's blade systems running Scalent Virtual Operating Environment will help facilitate a fast install and recovery option for virtualized servers.

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As part of this particular deal, Scalent V/OE software will be available through HP beginning next month as part of the HP BladeSystem c-Class Solution Builder Program. HP introduced its new c3000 blade system, nicknamed "Shorty," in September.

The arrangement makes it easier for customers of the Shorty blade system to quickly change hardware and keep their virtual environments up and running with minimal interruption. Thanks to the exclusivity of the deal, it also sticks it to Dell, which has been making its own moves into blades and virtualization.

Scalent's real-time installation and update software works with non-virtualized machines or servers running VMware's ESX 3.0 software to rapidly install or migrate a virtual server from one piece of hardware to another in case of failure.

The company has access to the VMware codebase and is therefore strongly connected and integrated, according to Kevin Epstein, vice president of marketing for Scalent and a former VMware executive himself.

The Scalent V/OE works with any piece of physical hardware, be it a rackmount or blade, x86, SPARC or other processor. The system enables the administrator to instantiate any operating system and software stack on bare metal, plus its network and storage connection. The company said the process is as simple as popping out the old blade from the chassis and installing a new one, with the rest done automatically.

It also allows for a rapid change of the blade's usage. If one blade runs storage and Microsoft Exchange, and IT wants to switch it to Linux with a Web server, it's simply a matter of changing settings — and the whole operating system, file system and applications are instantly moved to the blade.

Scalent can do this because most blades don't store their operating system and apps locally. Instead, they get it all from an attached SAN.

"The information about the server, what it's running for apps and an operating system and the actual data, is kept on a disk image on central storage," Epstein told InternetNews.com. "For people using blades, this is common."

"A server without a disk in it is just a processor with a pointer to storage. When it comes up, we say 'Boot what you find,'" he added. "It doesn't matter where the information is stored, so long as it has access to a top-level switch."

Scalent V/OE also has built-in intelligence so that when a server or blade dies, it can attempt to move the virtual environments running on the failed hardware to another blade or server. If needed, the system even can power on an idle machine and install the software to keep the server running.

This article was originally published on InternetNews.com.

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