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Tech perspective: HPE ProLiant DX8000 with Nutanix software

Take it to the edge: Dive into the technical capabilities of HPE ProLiant DX8000 and Nutanix with a security, hardware, and software focus. Learn why this system is used by the government and defense sector, telco, and other industries with hyperconverged infrastructure outside the data center.

HPE ProLiant and Nutanx-edge computing.png

The June 2020 release of the HPE ProLiant DX8000 with Nutanix software is part of a key strategic partnership between HPE and Nutanix. Both companies are recognized global leaders in the hyperconverged market around the globe.1,2

In this blog, I’ll review this product in detail. If you are a technically focused reader, you’ll be interested I’m sure!

First off, some background on the product

HPE ProLiant DX8000 with Nutanix software is a “data center in a box” of up to 4 server nodes within a toolbox-sized chassis. This is driven by the Nutanix Acropolis Operating System (AOS) managed with Acropolis, a software solution that serves as an easy way to satisfy a litany of use-cases (including AI/ML, cloud, virtual desktop, and other end-user compute functions) Customers around the world use this, especially in government and defense organizations, as well as other industry verticals where hyperconverged infrastructure outside the data center, or the edge, is required.

The hardware builds on many of years of research, development, and engineering that met the requirements to enable the 5G infrastructure in the telco industry. We quickly learned that this hardware could serve the edge compute needs of many industries—with particular interest within the government and defense sector, along with intended uses to enable higher telco data throughput.

Now I’ll dig deeper with a look at the security, hardware and software specs.

Security

From the very beginning, HPE ProLiant DX8000, and all Gen10 server platforms from HPE, have shipped with a capability ensuring customer confidence that the hardware is authentic: silicon root of trust.3

Before the server’s power-on self-test appears on screen, the silicon and firmware is verified and is corrected to the last known good state. Notification will occur if the system exhibits evidence of tampering. I’ve learned that government and defense customers depend on their commercial solutions to be designed with acceptable security controls baked in.

Nutanix’s security comes in as the silicon root of trust scheduled verification runs concurrently on the server. With multiple functions from a single visual interface, Nutanix Prism was developed to ensure that management tasks like virtualization and problem solving could be done within just a few clicks on one screen. Prism updates firmware by working hand in hand with the ProLiant server DX platform (with HPE’s integrated Lights Out). Nutanix security functionality lies in its multiple security layers (platform, application, and network security) rather than focusing on multivendor-sourced hardware to secure its virtualization, storage and server functions. Nutanix provides a secure environment for apps and data on virtual machines (data at rest) to function. It also provides a secure environment for data transfer between the virtual machines (Nutanix Flow). This protects the data and applications in case of a firewall breech. 

Widely accepted as a best business practice, Nutanix Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) is the automation engine to secure the entire environment for quick security compliance.  It does this by regularly checking against the known security baseline and immediately resetting the configuration to the baseline if non-compliance is detected.

Hardware

Now I’ll take a look at the size, weight and power (SW&P) characteristics of the ProLiant DX8000. The physical size of the chassis is 8.6 inches high (5RU) by 8.7 inches wide (interpret this as half the width of a 19-inch server rack) and 16.9 inches deep (half the depth of traditional ‘pizza box’ server equipment). Some customers choose a rough deployment of their systems by placing it on a bench or a desk, while others prefer the optional rack kit - which allows two DX8000s to be racked side-by-side, in only 5U of rack space. Detailed setup is done with the assistance of a systems architect or systems engineer. Some customers just use the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System Setup and Configuration Guide that comes with the hardware. It’s important to note: HPE’s Edgeline EL8000 documentation is the foundation for HPE ProLiant DX8000 hardware and serves as a reliable document for hardware reference.

The following several types of hardware are part of the certified configuration:

General hardware with SKUs

  • Chassis (SKU P27112-B21)
  • Dual, redundant A/C power supplies (SKU P27129-B21) can be installed to power the four server blade configuration in a single chassis.
  • A mount 4-post rack rail & tray kit (SKU P27114-B21) can be installed in a server rack in order to mount two DX8000s side by side. The “zero U” mount takes no additional rack space in order to support the DX8000 hardware in case the system is required to be mounted in the data center.

Components with SKUs

  • System board (SKU P27111-B21): ProLiant DX910 1U server blade (HPE ProLiant e910 Server Blade User and Maintenance Guide)
  • CPU (SKU P27116-B21): 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon-G 6212U 24 core 165W Cascade Lake CPU. One CPU is used per 1U server blade.
  • Boot/cache drive (SKU 866842-B21): 120GB SATA M.2 2242 boot drive.
  • Storage (SKU P27125-B21): M.2 Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) 22110 3.84TB Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Memory (RAM) (SKU P27132-B21): 192GB DDR4-2933 Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM). Memory selections are processor dependent, so make sure to accurately understand memory and processor requirements.
  • Network: 4 port 10GbE QSFP+ (SKU P27126-B21) or 2 port 10/25GbE (P18413-B21)

Nutanix software

As the go to market partner for this product offering, Nutanix certified the HPE ProLiant DX8000 in May 2020 with thorough and detailed testing. Nutanix Prism (for management), Nutanix Acropolis OS (for data services) and Nutanix AHV (built-in hypervisor) are not the only components of the software. There’s much more: Nutanix Flow (for networking), Nutanix Cluster Check and Nutanix Foundation Central (builds the environment from the bare metal of the server) all combine to create a secure and versatile virtualization solution for any hybrid cloud environment that needs modernization or a redesigned architecture. The software provides a VM environment, not only on AHV, but also on VMWare ESXi or Microsoft HyperV. 

HPE ProLiant DX8000 with Nutanix software, ready to work for you

With this “data center in a box” solution, engineers and administrators can enable an entire organization’s mission by providing the infrastructure in a toolbox-sized system. Other capabilities may be physically similar in size but are configured with much less compute power.

When your workload requirements can’t be met with 45-watt thermal design point (TDP) processors, you will find you may need to up your game to HPE ProLiant DX8000, a capability with the right specs and software to meet your requirements. When you need to find a way to securely and easily manage your environment, in a single display, Nutanix will meet your needs.

Here’s more information on solutions based on HPE ProLiant DX integrated with Nutanix software:

 

1 Overview and registration to download from Nutanix: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure

2 Register to download: Gartner Names HPE a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure

3 Watch the video: iLO 5 Chip with Silicon Root of Trust Protects Servers from Attacks


Derrick Edwards HPE.JPGMeet Compute Expert blogger Derrick Edwards, Converged Edge Systems Consultant at HPE. Derrick advises HPE Federal Sector on edge compute technology. With almost 30 years pf experience in the U.S. Federal IT space, he served in the U.S. Army for over 25 years (culminating his service as the Army Chief Technology Officer from 2015-2016). 

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