HP strengthens datacentre management capabilities

HP strengthens datacentre management capabilities

New software, services and hardware designed to appeal to datacentre managers

HP has unveiled a series of new services and hardware releases aimed at helping organisations maintain the effectiveness of their datacentres.

According to HP, IT leaders are increasingly concerned about their datacentres' ability to support the business over the coming years. It said that its new integrated range of hardware, software and services will help alleviate some of these concerns.

HP's new Insight Dynamics software suite is designed to allow datacentre managers to visualise and manage all their virtual and physical server resources, from one place.

Typically, organisations may have relied on enterprise management packages such as HP OpenView, BMC Patrol or CA Unicenter. "If you have one of these tools in place, they can show whether your applications and services are running effectively. However if an application goes down, you can't necessarily see what's happening underneath, for example there could be a disk or memory failure, but all you know is that application has failed," said Phil McLean, industry standard servers business development manager at HP.

McLean added that Insight Dynamics, "Let's you look at your whole environment and let's you understand what level of performance and service you need for a particular application and allows that application to be dynamically moved to a server with the appropriate level of capability and performance, and ultimately give a better business service."

HP has also announced a new ProLiant DL785 G5, an eight-socket x86 server based on quad-core AMD Opteron processors. "This is the most powerful x86 system that HP has ever released. It's got 32 physical processors and can support up to 512GB of system memory using 4GB memory modules. It's basically signalling our intention to provide the maximum amount of power and capability for firms looking to consolidate datacentre infrastructure," added McLean.

HP will supplement these releases with a rebranded set of support services, called Critical Services facilities – a direct result of HP's acquisition of datacentre consultancy EYP Mission Critical Facilities.

"In the past many firms putting up datacentres built for an average 10-15 year lifespan, but as the demands for new applications has led to an increase in compute performance being built into datacentres, so has the power needed by this increased compute infrastructure," said HP's datacentre solutions director Phil Dodsworth.

"I think datacentre managers are realistic to see that the rate of change and new challenges may lead to a compromise and that they have to build that risk into their planning. They'll still get 10-15 years life out of these datacentres, but they'll have to have major reviews on performance every 3-5 years," added Dodsworth.

Extending the lifespan of the data centre will invariably involve some retrofitting and re-commissioning, noted Dodsworth – this is far from being a trivial task. "Options like retrofitting are quite complex, it's like driving an 18-wheeler juggernaut at 70 miles per hour and trying to change the wheel, particularly if you're running business critical applications," he said.

HP will use the acquisition of EYP to bolster its offerings in this area. Most of EYP's business concentrated on datacentre design and planning, while the other parts concentrate on consulting, such as datacentre energy audits. EYP also had an assurance arm concentrating on risk management, once the datacentre is up and running.

The extent of the crisis engulfing the corporate datacentre was highlighted by recent research. HP-funded research found that more than a third of chief information officers believe that their datacentres will be unable to meet the rapidly growing demand for business services and applications within the next two to five years.