Day 1 of the HP Gen8 Blogger Tech Tour is over and there was a lot of information I need to digest. One thing is for sure, the face plate wasn’t the only major change that HP made to this generation of servers! I will be going more in depth about some of this items but I wanted to quickly share what I thought was most important from the presentations and demos today.
Less Headache for the Customer
One of the biggest transformations was the focus on making things easier for the client and less time spent fixing the server when there is an issue. When there is a hardware failure instead of your monitoring software notifying you, you investigate and then contact HP Support and answer questions/gather logs to send the server can (not a requirement, but the functionality is there) notify HP with all the pertinent information. HP can already start processing the RMA for the failed part and getting your replacement into your hand. This, to me is a must have.
HP added “intelligence” to many components on the servers to allow each component to save logs about possible issues or operating conditions to each piece of hardware, instead of on each specific controller. If a RAM chip starts failing, the Insight software doesn’t just show that the RAM slot has a bad chip but saves this information onto the RAM stick itself. This way if the stick is accidently placed in another machine it will show immediately as a failed chip instead of running and possibly causing problems.
This same functionality is also built into the new hard drives. However, instead of just making the hardware “smart”, they also helped the end user from being dumb. I have never pulled the wrong hard drive out of a working server, but I have pulled the wrong card out of a working PBX, and I am sure that is almost as fun (as in not). This seems to happen a lot, afterall the majority of us are human and we make mistakes. With Gen8 HP has put a “dummy” LED that gives the user a little reminder that bad things may happen if you pull this drive. This to me is something small that makes a big impact.
HP has also re-designed the way the processesers are installed to the servers. They even called it a “Smart Socket”. This new socket allows for you to slip in a Intel CPU and install it without worrying about bending the pins on the system board. This will not only help out for customer installed upgrades, but also with pins that get bent in the factory.
I am sure the majority of small to medium sized shops have probably never upgraded the firmware on their hardware. When you are short staffed, don’t have the expertise and things are working properly you usually don’t want to mess with things. This can cause problems down the road as well as security concerns. With HP’s new Smart Update Manager, they make this a fairly pain free automated process. It will download the updates, check dependencies, apply them in order and if one of them fails, roll back to the previous versions. Instead of taking hours or even days to patch a few racks of servers, this can be done painlessly in minutes.
HP released a mobile iLO application back in Feburary for iOS/Android phones and tablets. This brings iLO functionality to the mobile sysadmin. Gone are the days of lugging that laptop bag with you everywhere and trying to find a corner and wifi to check on an alert you received from Solarwinds on one of your servers. You can now perform these same duties from a very mobile friendly app and can be done on your portable tablet or phone.
I am looking forward to what HP has in store for us tomorrow. We will be going more in depth with HP’s Automated monitoring and management, power and cooling ideas and also CloudSystem Matrix.
Disclaimer: HP paid all expenses for my trip to Houston to experience the HP Gen8 Blogger Tech Tour. I was not required in any way to write anything about the trip, good or bad. I was given a reusable HP branded grocery store bag, a nice water bottle, a polo shirt and a Gen8 DL380 server (if you really think they gave me a server, then you must be drinking). My opinions are my own and if I cannot be bought by a iPad2 I for sure can’t be bought by a re-usable grocery bag.