HP Gen8: More then just a Pretty Face..plate

May 7th, 2012 at 3:07 PM  Comments Off on HP Gen8: More then just a Pretty Face..plate

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.

Smarter Hardware

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.

Firmware Upgrades

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.

Mobile iLO

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.

Tech Field Day starts on Wednesday!

November 9th, 2010 at 12:32 AM  2 Comments


It is going to be a crazy couple of days as myself and 10 other bloggers converge on San Jose for the 4th Tech Field Day presented by Gestalt IT.  Over the two days We will be hearing from 7 sponsors, from storage providers to chipset giants and enterprise monitoring leaders.

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This will be the first event that will be streamed live from Gestalt IT, the events organizer.  I am expecting two action packed days full of tweeting, blogging and good discussion.  If you have any questions you want asked to the sponsors post your questions in the comments or message me on Twitter.

Disclaimer:  Tech Field Day is organized by the great folks at Gestalt IT and paid for by the presenters of the event.  Even though my travel, meals and hotel accommodations were paid for my opinions are my own and it will not affect my posts.

Kiss your BIOS goodbye, first look at EFI based booting

November 4th, 2010 at 8:21 PM  3 Comments

Apple has been using EFI on their Intel based Macs ever since they moved off Power PC based processors, but for some reason the PC world has been slow to keep up the pace. EFI has many advantages over the decades old BIOS including support for booting off drives larger than 2TB, faster boot times and a more modern interface.

SWEClockers has one of the first looks at an UEFI based Intel motherboard, providing a look at our glorious future.

via Engadget

Apple has no plans for USB 3 anytime soon

October 31st, 2010 at 12:37 PM  3 Comments

Given the fact that Apple is still putting 3+ year old processor technology in their newest notebooks it should come as no surprise to anyone that they have no plans to incorporate USB 3 support into their products at this time.

In one of his famous email replies, Steve Jobs had this to say about it:

We don’t see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example.

Catch 22, they don’t see it taking off, yet they’re not doing anything to help it along.

While it leaves the door open for future implementation, it does seem to put some blame on Intel. It’s true, that Intel doesn’t support USB 3 in their native chipsets. However, it should be pointed out that their friends over at AMD… do.

via 9to5mac

Companies begin pushing PCIe SSD drives

October 29th, 2010 at 1:10 PM  No Comments

In a few years, the solid state drive in your computer may no longer look as it does today. At least, if a coalition of technology vendors have their way. Dell, EMC, IBM, Intel and a variety of others are trying to push out SATA connectivity for drives in favor of PCIe based connections.

While there are already PCIe drives for sale today, they’re typically 2 or 3 times as expensive as a traditional SATA based SSD drive. However, despite the price, they’re attractive because they are typically 5 or 6 times as fast in raw read/write speeds. PCIe is a lower latency connection because it doesn’t require any bridging chips to access the storage.

But while the interface will change to PCIe, the form factor of the current 2.5″ drive will stay the same. The coalition also wants to ensure hot plug capability to allow for faster online servicing and higher availability in server applications.

The group expects drives based on the new interface to be available as early as 2011.

via CRN

Intel gets into the news business, the end is near

October 28th, 2010 at 10:47 AM  1 Comment

The traditional news media has been dominated by large corporations for a while, and most of the major tech blogs are now owned by some dark lord. So it seems like it was only a matter of time before the tech companies themselves started their own news sites.

Leave it to Intel to be first out of the gate with their site Free Press. Intel is now going to educate us on everything important (Intel) and game changing (Intel) in the tech industry (Intel). From time to time they may provide us with valuable opinions of important (Intel) people.

That’s it, let’s shutdown TechVirtuoso, and all the other independently run sites. We’re done, no need for us to hang around and waste our time, energy and money.

If you can’t see the sarcasm dripping from each and every link, let me make it even clearer. We’re doomed!

Intel buys McAfee, way overpays for an ineffective engine

August 19th, 2010 at 11:18 AM  No Comments

I’m not sure I would have paid $29 for a copy of McAfee, but Intel decided it was wise to go all in and spend almost $8 billion to acquire them.

Of all the security companies out there Intel had their choice of, they picked one of the most bloated and ineffective scanning engines, and the one that has one the worst track record when it comes to false positives that eat your computer alive.

I can say that having spent almost 4 years managing their corporate suite, and having their software updates crash my systems (I eventually dumped their software for Microsoft Forefront) and rebuild my configuration multiple times, I’m not looking forward to them integrating their technologies on Intel chips.

(McAfee Press Release)

KVM over IP; coming to a Desktop/Laptop near you!

February 4th, 2010 at 11:58 PM  No Comments

Today I saw a tweet from @DellServerGeek about a new technology that Intel has developed in partnership with RealVNC for the new Intel vPro 2010 series chips.  This amazing technology will allow IT Support to be able to connect to a machine, even when the machine can’t boot and resolve the users issue without the need for a technician to be sent out on site.  This KVM over IP technology has been around for some time in the server realm with DRAC cards from Dell or Lights-out boards from HP but I believe this is the first time it has been tried on Desktop/Laptop machines.

This new technology will not only allow the remote technician to take control of the machine but also will give the technician the option to turn the machine on or off remotely as well as rebooting the machine when it does not respond to keyboard or mouse gestures.  You can also use the IDE Redirection option to remotely boot to a cd or image.

Check out the RealVNC site for videos and more detailed information!

Microsoft highlights MED-V features for Windows 7

January 7th, 2010 at 1:33 PM  No Comments

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), is a component of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) for Software Assurance customers. It allows administrators to provide a virtualized desktop image to users and manage them from a central console. The upcoming Service Pack 1 for MED-V will expand support for Windows 7 (both 32 and 64-bit) as a host platform. Considering most large companies held off on upgrading to Windows Vista and opted to wait for Windows 7, this technology will help boost the migration since they can do so and run older programs that may no longer be supported or have not been certified for Windows 7.

In V1 SP1, MED-V continues to employ Virtual PC 2007 as the virtualization engine but unlike the consumer “Windows XP Mode” it does not require hardware-assisted virtualization like Intel VT or an AMD-V to be present in the processor. This allows even those with lower end or older processors to take advantage of enterprise desktop virtualization.

Microsoft has put together a screencast demonstrating running a MED-V workspace using a V1 SP1 client in the Windows 7 environment.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Intel reveals latest Core i7 mobile CPU’s, details on future chips

September 24th, 2009 at 12:53 PM  1 Comment

Intel_logoIntel has unveiled their latest Core i7 processors for laptops, and also announced details of upcoming mobile technologies, at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, California. During the keynote address by David (Dadi) Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager, Intel Architecture Group, the newest Core i7 processors were presented as being focused towards the most demanding PC users who create digital video, play intense games or run compute-intensive business applications. These new quad core processors and chipset are based on Intel’s Nehalem platform, and include Intel’s Turbo Boost, and Hyper-Threading technologies.

“Staying connected on an increasingly broad array of mobile devices has become the most exciting and quickly evolving part of technology,” said Perlmutter. “Intel is delivering the total mobile experience on each device, offering different levels of performance and power in sleek form factors coupled with compatibility, a superior mobile Internet experience and embedded WiMAX wireless broadband. We’re truly taking mobility to the next level of cool.”


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