Latest HP ProLiant Gen8 server range vows reduced admin time

20 Mar 2012

HP Ireland says its newly unveiled ProLiant Generation 8 servers will reduce the time needed to manage the hardware manually, through improved self-sufficiency features and by automating routine administration tasks like updates.

The new systems are the product of a two-year €300m R&D effort. Dubbed Project Voyager, the Gen8 servers are the third phase of HP’s focus on the server market, which began last year with Project Moonshot – focusing on low-energy systems, and Project Odyssey, aimed at the mission-critical high-end server market.

Project Voyager piece is aimed at mainstream servers and this part of the scheme has focused on improving server life cycle and reducing administration time. The new systems are claimed to increase the computing capacity per watt of energy by 70pc. This is achieved via HP’s 3-D Sea of Sensors technology which can scan a server room for over utilised servers based on data like real-time location, power, workload and temperature. It then allocates the workload between servers dynamically.

According to HP estimates, manual operations like server updates can take up to five hours of an IT administrator’s time per rack. Its HP Smart Update feature is said to perform the same update in 10 minutes or less.

HP ProLiant Gen8’s ProActive Insight Architecture is designed to provide continuous intelligence on server health, power usage and other important diagnostics. This is said to allow online system updates be deployed three times faster, with as much as 93pc less downtime.

While stats like these may be music to the ears of data centre operators, HP Ireland’s general manager for enterprise servers, storage and networking Mark McKeon said the servers are intended to appeal across the spectrum of organisations from as few as 20 users and up.

“This goes across the market from the SMB (small-to-medium business) space up. The whole concept of the HP Smart Update feature is going to be a benefit for everybody,” he said.

“Typically, IT departments spend 70pc of their time keeping the lights switched on. Smart Update is looking to switch that on its head. You’re getting back so much time and that is going to be of interest in the smaller operations. That could be organisations of 20-30 people or fewer,” McKeon added.

As technology like self-sufficient servers becomes more established in the mainstream server market, this will have implications for IT professionals. McKeon said many will now have the opportunity to adapt their roles, moving away from providing basic maintenance type services to spending more time on using IT to innovate. “A lot of the people focused on keeping the lights on will now be focused on delivering business value,” he said.

HP Ireland will be taking orders for the servers in the second half of this month and will begin shipping from April. The company is currently pricing the units in dollars, and entry-level ProLiant Gen8 are starting at around US$1,700.

Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic