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11/12/2007
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HP Improves Management Of Blade Servers

HP's Virtual Connection technology can now manage up to 1,600 bladed servers from a single console.

Blade severs have become a platform of choice for many enterprises attempting to consolidate operations, but the resulting high-density installations can create their own management challenges. Leading blade vendors such as Hewlett-Packard are attempting to address those concerns with greater operational automation.

HP on Monday announced enhancements to its BladeSystem c-Class product line, including the extension of its Virtual Connection technology capabilities to be able to manage up to 1,600 bladed servers from a single console, allowing users to reduce operational cost and improve quality of service.

"HP's push to streamline IT operations is about more than a single or specific product," said Jim Ganthier, director of marketing for BladeSystem at HP, in an interview. "These kinds of improvements will make administrators and data center managers more comfortable in how they can treat their floor as a pool of resources that can be shifted up and down."

First introduced in February, HP's Virtual Connect technology allows users to pre-assign network and storage connections, and then add, move, replace, or upgrade those servers quickly.

As first introduced, Virtual Connect allowed the administrators to manage and control only one blade enclosure, or a platform with up to 16 blades. The new Enterprise Manager enables the management and control of up to 100 c-Class enclosures, or a total of up to 1,600 servers from a single console.

The Enterprise Manager allows users to more effectively and efficiently meeting changing workloads or performance needs, Ganthier said. The software can be operated by a single administrator, help eliminate process steps and administrative time, and provide an audit trail and limit configuration conflicts.

HP has also expanded offerings based on its Insight Control software for management of physical and virtual environments, he said.

The Server Migration Pack Universal Edition combines virtual and physical migrations into a single tool. A new "queued migration feature" helps to automate, plan, and execute multiple migrations at once.

The Virtual Machine Management Pack 3.0 provides centralized management of Citrix XenServer, Microsoft, Oracle and VMware-based virtual machines. It can reduce downtime interruptions with a predictive failure alert capability that relocates virtual machines before hardware failures occur.

The PolyServe Software for Microsoft SQL consolidates large SQL environments onto a single cluster so that users can manage all instances of the software at once and roll out business applications more quickly.

HP has also added a Power Distribution Rack to control three-phase power distribution across server racks. The product allows IT managers to connect power once across a row of servers, and adapt the power distribution as needs change. It can prevent overloads and resolve problems associated with thermal issues, and reducing cabling.

"We are fighting for every BTU," Ganthier said. "These three-phase units can allow you to dissipate half as much heat, which means you'll also spend half as much cooling resources."

All the new features for BladeSystems will be available by the end of the week.

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