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HP refreshes server management with HP OneView

HP has announced a new product to manage HP BladeSystem and ProLiant G7/Gen 8 infrastructure called HP OneView which is due to be released in October.

HP thinks the existing way of deploying and managing servers is built on models from 20 years ago and is in need of an update. This is certainly true particularly with HP servers despite HP having a number of tools such as HP Systems Insight Manager (HP SIM), HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager (VCEM), HP Insight Control and HP Intelligent Provisioning.

HP OneView has been built from the ground up to simplify and speed up the server deployment and management process for servers, networking and storage. OneView runs as a self contained virtual appliance and you connect via a web browser.

HP says the user interface is a “consumer-inspired user experience” built on a “software-defined architecture” with an “open extensible platform”. HP says it has been four years in the making and has been built with the input of more than 150 of HPs biggest customers.

OneView will be a licensed product per physical server it manages starting at about £571 for a single license including three years support and updates. There will be an upgrade available from iLO Advanced, Insight Control and VCEM.

It seems that initially HP OneView will take on what part of what HP SIM + Version Control currently does for monitoring and software management and will also tie in to Intelligent Provisioning with Gen 8 servers/blades as well as incorporating features of HP VCEM for blade chassis management/network provisioning.

HP is intending for OneView to eventually replace HP SIM, Insight Control and VCEM and be the only management option after Gen 9 Servers but customers will likely need to use multiple tools until OneView is up to date. I really hope this happens soon as HP SIM just doesn’t cut it any more (you may argue it never did in the first place for monitoring when it replaced Compaq Insight Manager).

HP has built process flow directly into OneView so you are no longer just managing individual devices but able to build up automated process flows. This has been designed as an end-to-end provisioning process. If you are deploying a server this would incorporate creating/updating virtual connect networks across multiple blade chassis and then deploying a new blade by updating to the latest firmware, setting BIOS settings (yay!), creating a Virtual Connect Server profile based on the previously created networks/SAN connectivity and then deploying an OS or hypervisor, all automatically.

The really exciting bit is this can all be automated as HP OneView has a REST API with PowerShell support so you can connect to OneView and with a PowerShell script automate the provisioning of your entire infrastructure. HP server owners have been crying out for this automation so I am very excited to see HP making a bold step at last in the right direction.

OneView contains a Dashboard so you can see at a glance the capacity and health status of every device in your data center.

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You can see a 3D Thermal Map which tracks power and cooling with colour-coded mapping so you can decide where to deploy your next infrastructure.

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There is a Map View to see the relationships and dependencies to help you troubleshoot and fix issues.

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Smart Search is an integral component so you can easily find anything in your data center environment easily.

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There is an Activity Feed so you can get your notifications which are clearly articulated.

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Here are some demo videos from HP:

HP has also released a comparison video showing the difference between managing HP Blades with OneView and Cisco UCS. I’m not going to link to it as it it a terrible example of vendor FUD. The example UCS workflow they use is not the way you would normally manage UCS anyway so the comparison is meaningless. Grow up HP!

I really, really hope HP get OneView. In my opinion HP has fantastic hardware which has historically been let down by poor software. On the one hand they have a poor track record of firmware and driver compatibility and on the other hand an unwieldy monitoring software product along with a complicated software management system across their portfolio. I’m hoping that by thinking afresh they can deliver an innovative approach which allows you to simply monitor, report and alert on your whole estate, provide simple firmware/driver updating and make it much simpler to deploy standard infrastructure and keep it compliant.

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