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Solving 3 critical management issues with standardization and HP OneView

tammie_aron ‎01-21-2014 03:23 PM - edited ‎09-30-2015 07:00 AM

Guest blog by Chris Bradley, Manager Engineering Programs, HP Servers World Wide Engineering Group


What if you could standardize configurations across your data center automatically? Would this save your IT staff time and minimize configuration errors that easily occur when you manually replicate configuration details from enclosure to enclosure? As I talk to customers about HP OneView, their excitement about these capabilities is loud and clear. 


Case in point: A large manufacturing company that maintains data centers around the world recently shared  the remarkable efficiency it achieved with HP OneView. Administrators are thrilled by the ability to automatically standardize multiple enclosures at a time, both when setting them up and when making changes. Processes that used to take months now take days to complete.


Automatic standardization helps this manufacturer

  •  Significantly minimize the chance of human error
  •  Ensure consistent server profiles
  • Greatly reduce the time it takes to change existing enclosures

The pitfalls of manual standardization

As every administrator knows, managing any number of servers or blade servers at scale can be both time-consuming and labor-intensive. With traditional data center management tools, you can use a process runtime book to try to ensure standardization.  This process requires an administrator to manually input changes to enclosure configurations, followed by another admin who then audits each enclosure for consistency.


The challenge is that even this process isn’t foolproof. The manufacturer mentioned above rolled out hundreds of Virtual Connect installations in existing data centers over a three year period. Its data center ended up with three different “standard” configurations, due to slightly different uplink topology and different VLANs for different groups of applications.


Trying to ensure standardization manually is like playing the children’s game of telephone, where you end up with a very different conversation from the one you started with.  An initial configuration can shift over time due to differences as small as mistakenly substituting a lowercase letter for an uppercase one in a naming convention.


Such differences may seem minor, but multiplied over hundreds of enclosures they have caused this manufacturer major headaches. For example, if the Virtual Connect network naming conventions don’t match, admins would have difficulty seamlessly migrating workloads. After reconciling these differences they had to make changes to the data center operation documentation, a process that took time and raised the risk of introducing more errors.


Streamlined set up

The ability to standardize at scale is critical for a large enterprise. The HP OneView Logical Interconnect Groups allow admins to rubber-stamp new infrastructure with an uplink topology. Additional standardization is introduced with the concept of Network Sets, which consist of groupings of VLANs. When server profiles consume a Network Set, they automatically get all the VLANs that are mapped to it. Simply adding a VLAN to the Network Set, propagates that new VLAN to all servers consuming that Network Set.


HP OneView automatically baselines enclosure firmware and set up Virtual Connect when enclosures are imported. An administrator can almost immediately start following best practices for fault domains, by creating server profiles in multiple enclosures, allowing them to create highly-available application and virtualization clusters. 


Make changes in minutes

When this manufacturer used traditional management tools to add VLANs, admins had to touch every enclosure and every server profile to make sure each one had the correct VLAN. When they add a VLAN to a preconfigured network set in HP OneView, the change propagates to all the server profiles that are consuming that set. This means that every application consuming the template automatically gets that VLAN, in a matter of seconds as opposed to days or even weeks of administration time.


Admins can check to see that they’ve taken care of every enclosure through HP OneView’s Map View, which provides an interactive display of all their data center resources; both physical and logical.  By viewing the Network Set in Map View, administrators can see the logical relationship of the Network Set to every managed enclosure.


The audit process is dramatically simplified with HP OneView as well. If someone modifies a Logical Interconnect configuration so that is inconsistent with the group, HP OneView sends an alert about the inconsistency and gives administrators choices in how to remediate the discrepancy.


With this manufacturing customer, automated standardization has helped lower the stress level in the data center by reducing the risk of human error, ensuring consistent infrastructure configuration, server profiles and minimizing the amount of time needed to change configurations.


Experience for yourself how HP OneView can help standardize your converged infrastructure. Download HP OneView software free for 60 days.



Chris Bradley is an HP engineer who evangelizes HP’s unique capabilities to help customers who take advantage of HP’s Converged Infrastructure offerings to streamline and simplify their IT operate

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Greetings! I am on the HP Enterprise Group marketing team focused on small and midsize businesses.

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