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HP Virtual Connect crosses c-Class BladeSystem chassis

HP deluged data center managers with new offerings for BladeSystem c-Class, virtualization management, and power and cooling infrastructure.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is taking advantage of the keynote speech of CEO Mark Hurd at Oracle's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on Monday to announce several enterprise software and data center infrastructure products.

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HP BladeSystem c-Class users can now purchase Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager, a software add-on to c-Class' existing Virtual Connect option that remaps network connections for server images as they move to blade servers in a pool of multiple c-Class chassis.

Previously, Virtual Connect could remap only LAN and SAN (Ethernet and Fibre Channel) connections for server images moving to a blade in the same c-Class chassis. "Virtual Connect has been a major success for us," said Paul Gottsegen, vice president of marketing for industry-standard servers at HP. "Customers have taken to it like wildfire," with more than 150,000 blade servers enabled for Virtual Connect since it was introduced in 2006, he said.

Customers have taken to [Virtual Connect] like wildfire.
Paul Gottsegen,
VP of marketing, industry-standard serversHewlett-Packard Co.

With Virtual Connect, server administrators can perform tasks like setting up a new server, doing preventative maintenance, or enabling inexpensive fault tolerance without having to call their LAN or SAN administrator, Gottsegen said. "Server admins are usually in hurry-up-and-wait mode," he said, sometimes waiting for a SAN or LAN admin to complete a step necessary to reconfigure a server. Removing the need for that step reduces the time it takes to move a server to minutes, he said.

The software-only Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager can remap network devices for up to 1,600 servers -- 16 blades in up to 100 BladeCenter c-Class chassis. It is priced at $9,000 for every c7000 series chassis, and $4,500 for c3000 models. That's in addition to whatever a firm has paid for a pre-existing Virtual Connect module, a combination of hardware and software that lists at $4,000 to $15,000 depending on configuration.

Virtualization goodness
Users of Insight Control, HP's server infrastructure management software, also have new virtualization management offerings to choose from.

The HP Server Migration Pack Universal Edition helps administrators migrate server images between ProLiant and BladeSystem physical machines to virtual machines (VMs) running on VMware and Microsoft HP Server Migration Pack Universal Edition virtualization platforms. "It does physical-to-virtual, virtual-to-physical, virtual-to-virtual, physical-to-Proliant -- whatever you can think of," said Gottsegen. A new queued migration feature, meanwhile, helps automate, plan and execute multiple simultaneous migrations.

Version 3.0 of the Virtual Machine Management Pack, another feature of Insight Control, integrates hardware management with management of virtual infrastructure by, say, VMware's VirtualCenter. An example of how admins might use version 3.0 is the capability to alert VirtualCenter of a "pre-failure event" like a slow, failing disk drive in a server. That in turn could trigger the migration of VMs on the dying host to a healthier host system, Gottsegen suggested.

On the storage virtualization side, HP also announced that its PolyServe clustered file system software is now available for Microsoft SQL Server environments. The PolyServe product, which HP obtained through acquisition earlier this year, was previously under the dominion of HP's storage group. With this product, PolyServe is now on the ProLiant price list.

Power and cooling prowess
HP is also touting two new products of interest to data center facilities managers: the new HP Power Distribution Rack, and the new HP Rackmountable Parallel 3 Phase UPS.

The HP power distribution unit (PDU) simplifies power distribution in a large data center by controlling three-phase power distribution from the central power source to a single row of server racks. "In data centers, power distribution is one of the vexing things to plan for," said Gottsegen. "You plan for it, but you invariably end up needing to add incremental power." With HP's new PDU, rather than bring power to each rack from a central power source, each row has its own dedicated power source, with fewer cables to run, he explained.

Finally, HP is also offering the new HP Rackmountable Parallel 3 Phase, which the company said dissipates less than half as much heat into a data center compared with the nearest competitor offering, saving up to $6,000 per year in power and cooling costs for the 60-kilowatt row-level configuration. All the aforementioned products are available for purchase starting Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Alex Barrett, News Director.

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