The economics of HP blade servers: How customers have saved time and money with HP

Blade servers are a cost-efficient and flexible way for companies to process and manage their business data.

This HP white paper looks at how the launch of server management platform HP OneView will allow companies to make their data centres even more efficient.

HP Blade Server

A blade server is a stripped down server computer with a modular design optimised to minimise the use of physical space and energy. Blade servers have a number of components removed to save on space, minimise power consumption and allow cost effective modular expansion.

A blade enclosure, which can hold multiple blade servers, provides services to all the blades contained within it, such as power, cooling, networking, various interconnects and server management. Together, blades and the blade enclosure form a cost-effective blade system, by providing powerful computing power using shared services.

It is this model that is being used by many thousands of HP customers to meet performance targets, while at the same time cut costs. Compared with traditional rack servers, customers have also discovered that blade servers simplify data centre operations.

Traditional server infrastructure cannot deliver the density, shared resources, scalability and overall efficiency of blades, which, according to HP, can reduce your data centre costs by up to 68 per cent and downtime by as much as 90 per cent. And a number have also now adopted the HP OneView server management system to make things run even more efficiently in their data centre.

HP OneView

To develop HP OneView, HP collaborated with more than 150 leading customers worldwide over four years to understand the drivers of cost, inefficiencies and delays around the most common infrastructure management tasks, processes and steps.

HP OneView is designed for the HP BladeSystem, and the expanding range of HP ProLiant servers. It improves the productivity of IT administrators with the help of an intuitive user interface and automated intelligence that simplifies common tasks.

The most common data centre processes, such as deployment, updating, migrating and troubleshooting can be reduced from hours or days to just minutes.

And HP OneView provides IT teams with an effective way to communicate as well as a place that combines tasks, hardware alerts and administrative notes into a single view.

The benefits

Marian Lakov, enterprise architect for technology architecture at United Airlines, says, “Existing IT infrastructure management tools are designed for individual devices, but don’t scale well in large data centres and are not optimised for the user.

"As a result, it can be hard to scale IT services without the corresponding increases in time and headcount. HP OneView creates a new direction by providing a universal infrastructure management platform that is flexible enough to scale from a single enclosure to large data centres, and which is optimised for infrastructure teams."

Lakov says, "Our initial findings have been very promising and we believe that going forward, HP OneView will allow the United IT team to configure and manage the IT infrastructure in a more efficient way.”

The promise presented by HP OneView is confirmed by industry analyst Frost & Sullivan. The analyst house says, "HP OneView is an integrated management offering designed to manage HP infrastructure across compute, storage and networking today, but it is swiftly moving towards multi-cloud management for both physical and virtual environments from multiple vendors through a single user interface."

Frost & Sullivan adds, "Developed using open standards and modern APIs (application programming interfaces), it allows IT organisations to efficiently provision and manage an entire environment through a single management platform. It can also automate security and compliance, resulting in considerable time savings and risk reduction from human induced errors."

And fellow analyst IDC confers, "The HP OneView goal is to free IT admins from having to rely on spreadsheets and machine language coding, and to allow them to discover, monitor, configure and collaborate using a unified management solution spanning a broad range of HP systems and infrastructure products."

IDC adds, "This people-centric approach to unifying and automating the full spectrum of HP systems administration capabilities delivers significant productivity benefits across IT administration teams while improving business agility. HP states many customers can now provision infrastructure as much as 12x faster than before they deployed HP OneView. Early feedback from customers shows that HP has hit a home run with HP OneView," says IDC.

Another customer that has seen the real life benefits of HP OneView is an organisation within a large global financial services institution, that functions as an internal service provider to over 40,000 customer contact centre agents.

In summer 2013, the organisation deployed HP OneView as its infrastructure management platform and HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage products as its storage solution. These HP products were deployed alongside HP BladeSystem, which the group was already using as its blade server infrastructure.

A manager within this organisation praises HP OneView as being "organisationally transformative." He explains, "HP OneView helped us to reduce a technology rollout from 66 days to one day. It's the breakthrough we've been looking for."

As a data centre infrastructure management platform, HP OneView enables the organisation to deliver technology platforms to contact centre agents more quickly by dramatically shortening rollout times. In addition, it reduces staffing requirements both for rollouts and on an ongoing basis.

HP OneView also captures organisational processes, configurations and best practices for the organisation, allowing it to automate infrastructure deployment, says the manager, by enabling the group to re-use the intel and systems gathered from past successes for future deployments.

The financial services group's management can now leverage the time being saved through HP OneView to give current employees additional responsibilities without hiring more full-time employees or paying for contractors.

It is these factors from using HP blades and HP OneView that enable customers to save time and money in their data centres.