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Taxes and Tuning – iLO 5 can help make one much easier this April!

Scott_Faasse

iLO5-Taxes-and-Tuning_Blog_shutterstock_585208987 (2).jpgMillions of Americans dread the month of April. Why? Because in April, it is time file your federal tax return to settle up for the year with Uncle Sam. 

I’ll be honest with you. I remember in years past dreading this time of year. This was especially true before widely available automated tax return software, and online help that actually evaluates your tax situation, and provides recommendations on how to file.

To further increase my anxiety, tax laws change yearly. It seems nothing ever stays the same. Back then, even as recently as 10 years ago, tax advisors were a luxury and not easily accessible. Many folks probably paid more taxes than they needed to, It was simply too overwhelming keep up to date with the latest tax laws and all of the available deductions that could be used to maximize your tax return.

The same can really be said for tuning your server. Every year, IT professionals buy the latest and greatest server technology in hopes that they can maximize their investment. But with new technology comes new architectures to learn, as well as getting comfortable with all the new features that exist to help you maximize performance and get a hefty return on that original investment.

Performance and cost efficiencies with HPE Integrated Lights-Out (iLO 5) and Workload Performance Advisor

New with the launch of the HPE Gen10 ProLiant servers and HPE Synergy compute modules featuring the second generation of Intel Xeon Scalable processors, HPE Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) 5 offers real-time, performance analysis and BIOS tuning recommendations with workload performance advisor!

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While it can’t answer your tax questions this April, our workload performance advisor will show you how your workload is utilizing those precious server resources you bought. The advisor analyzes them, and then provides real-time tuning recommendations. HPE is the first in the industry to provide this kind of support to help you maximize your performance based on a real-time assessment.

You might ask, is this only available with the second generation of Intel® Xeon Scalable processor configured servers? Great question! HPE will enable you to audit and amend your first generation of Intel® Xeon Scalable processor configured servers too. All you need to do is update your existing HPE Gen10 server firmware to the latest versions, and workload performance advisor will help you tune your existing deployments.

Workload Performance Advisor vs Workload Matching

Now, if you have read my previous blogs on workload matching, you might be curious as to how these two features compare or interact. The answer is that they are complimentary. Workload matching gives the IT specialist the ability to preconfigure their BIOS settings based on their workload characteristics or requirements. Workload Performance Advisor gives them feedback on how well those tunings are working out.

“Scott, can you just tell me if I configured my server wrong?”

This is an actual question I received from a customer not long after we launched Gen10 and were discussing embedded performance management server features, including workload matching. This particular customer redeploys servers all the time and they wanted to know whether or not their old tunings were still optimal. These situations remind me of that anxiety that you have just before filing your taxes. “Did I do it wrong?” Nobody wants to pay more than necessary. Most of all -- nobody wants to be audited!

Let’s look at an example. Say you just purchased a brand new HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 server configured with second generation Intel® Scalable Processors. You are going to deploy your workload, which consists of a database and a web front end that are both running under a virtualized operating system. You check out the workload profiles and you select the Virtualization Max Performance profile. Now, benchmarking and common wisdom have shown that for these types of workloads, the Sub-NUMA Clustering (SNC) option should be enabled to achieve maximum performance. But as you well know, even profiles aren’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It gets you into the ballpark quicker, but your situation may be a bit unique. At this point, I could create a five part blog series to explain the nuances of SNC and how it is highly dependent on the NUMA awareness of the workload, and how you really should measure that, and how measuring requires special knowledge of …

Feeling overwhelmed yet?

Well if you are, let me ease that anxiety and tell you how workload performance advisor is here to help. Instead of forcing you to read a dissertation on processor microarchitecture, iLO 5 will just show you. On the new workload performance advisor page, you will get a report of your CPU utilization, Memory Bandwidth Utilization, I/O Bandwidth Utilization, and NUMA Awareness level for either the past 10 minutes, 1 hour, or 24 hours. Based on these characteristics that we have measured for you, we’ll list some BIOS recommendations for setting changes if they don’t seem to be optimally set.

So, for instance, say your deployment on your HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 isn’t highly NUMA-optimized after all. Maybe the web front end and the database are sharing too much memory across the socket. Well, iLO will see that, and flag it for you. From there, the decision is yours. You can choose to apply that setting right from the workload performance advisor page, and it will take affect when you reboot your server.

Transparency via performance monitoring

There is no getting around the fact that I am an engineer. So even though I personally make use of tax software to help me out during tax season, I like to hit that button that lets me review the numbers and the worksheets that are going to be used when filing my taxes. Depending on your personality, you the IT specialist might be - could I say - skeptical? For the “show me” crowd, we have the data from the sensors that drive the recommendations available for view in the Performance Monitoring tab. So if you want the data behind the recommendations and analysis, you can cruise one tab over and take it all in. I’ll be sure to cover the performance monitoring functionality a little bit more in a future blog, so stay tuned.

Awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome.

 Workload performance advisor is brought to you by the continued awesomeness of iLO 5 on HPE Gen10 Servers that support 1st and 2nd generation Intel® Scalable Xeon processors.  You can find out more information on Workload Performance Advisor, and all the requirements to start leveraging it at the iLO 5 website. And - Don’t fret your upcoming deployments or re-deployments this year. – We’ve got your tuning concerns covered! As for your taxes, just remember, at least you don’t have to use pen and paper anymore!


Scott Faasse
Master Technologist, Server Firmware and Performance
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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About the Author

Scott_Faasse

Scott Faasse is a Distinguished Technologist and HPE’s expert on Platform and Processor Power Management and Performance. Since joining Compaq/HP/HPE in 2001, Scott has served as the lead platform firmware developer for six generations of the ProLiant DL380 Server, architected and developed HPE’s Power Regulator feature, lead HPE in several industry standards and partner collaboration efforts, and is one of the principal technologist behind HPE’s Intelligent System Tuning. Scott is also an avid outdoorsman. He enjoys hiking long distances with a really heavy backpack (rucking), camping with family, fly fishing in urban settings, and traditional archery.