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Always going the extra mile to provide a solution vs. a simple repair

on ‎03-24-2014 01:02 PM

Mike Romick is the Technology Services (TS) Global Lab Manager and part of the HP Converged Systems & Solutions ERT Team. His teams are focused on resolving complex problems for HP’s most critical customers. Mike recently celebrated his 25th year at HP and has extensive experience leading technical teams. Mike is a certified ITIL V3 Expert and holds a degree in Electrical Engineering.

When you have an IT issue, you want it identified and fixed … FAST. Much of the time, that gets you by without having to deal with the same issue again. But wouldn’t it be great if the same process also found and fixed other problems, meaning you wouldn’t have to worry about hidden issues cropping up in the future to disrupt your operations? It is exactly this type of holistic solution that the HP Technology Services Global Labs provide. Because of their ability to re-create a customer’s exact environment, the Labs' engineers not only take care of obvious and not-so-obvious problems, they also find issues that could be easily missed, helping create an optimum platform that is better able to deliver the results HP customers need to reach their business goals.   

Making the latest and best even better
As a major retail customer found out, having the latest and greatest hardware does not always produce the desired results. The customer had received a shipment of ProLiant DL360p Gen8 servers and P2000 G3 MSA Storage Arrays, which form the building blocks of its in-store compute solution. For each of five new stores, a pair of DL360p Gen8 servers were loaded with VMware ESXi V4.1 and connected to the P2000 G3 MSA shared storage. This configuration hosts the virtual machines that support the Point-of-Sale solution within the store.

However, issues arose. HP engineers discovered that the DL360p Gen8 servers received at the customer's locations were configured with the latest Xeon E5-2600 V2 processors, instead of the older, Xeon E5-2600 V1 processors. The change resulted in a hardware configuration that was not supported for the old version of VMware ESXi V4.1 that aligend with the stores’ deployment and support model. The fastest resolution to the hardware issue was to provide the customer with the Xeon V1 processors for the five new stores until their internal IT support organization could plan, test and execute an upgrade to the latest version of VMware ESXi.

The Solutions were tested in the TS Global Lab in Alpharetta, GA.  During the tests, HP Engineering was also able to isolate a driver issue with the LSI host-bus-adapter module used to connect the DL360p Gen8 servers to the P2000 G3 MSA storage. When running with the older V10 LSI driver, the test configuration would produce hangs and disconnects from the storage. Investigation showed a new LSI V15 driver had been released and added to the HP/VMware support matrix in February 2014. Through the testing in the Global Lab, HP Engineers were able to test and validate the setting for the driver and alert the customer to this condition. As a result, the customer now enjoys a stable platform  in a supported configuration for HP, VMware and LSI.

While fixing an issue is acceptable, it always remains an intermediate goal for the TS Global Labs. The final goal is to always deliver the best possible Solution for the customer’s environment, and well as for the specific tasks that each individaul system is designed to handle.  Our retail customer is very pleased that we brought this holistic approach to their IT issue.  

- Mike Romick  

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