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HP adds server management, efficiency features to reduce IT costs

Hewlett-Packard has enhanced its Insight Dynamics -- VSE software with software tools that simplify virtual machine and physical server management, add efficiency, and reduce IT costs.

New virtualization software in Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Adaptive Infrastructure portfolio aims to reduce IT costs by simplifying physical and virtual server management.

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The new software and features are add-ons to Insight Dynamics -- Virtual Server Environment (VSE), which manages both physical and virtual resources within data centers. In addition to easing server management burdens, HP says that its new features can also reduce IT costs.

HP's new features for Adaptive Infrastructure
The new Insight Orchestration option for Insight Dynamics --VSE gives IT design templates that specify the infrastructure required to run different applications on servers, storage and networks.

With the software, physical and virtual resources can be automatically assigned and configured based on templates' specifications. Insight Orchestration includes a self-service portal and workflow engine that all data center departments can use.

This software option is available now on HP ProLiant servers and will be available on HP Integrity servers later in 2009. The U.S. list price per server is $795, or the eight- and 16-license packages are priced at $695 per server (eight licenses for $5,560 and 16 licenses for $11,120).

Also new is Insight Recovery software for Insight Dynamics – VSE, which restarts applications running on physical and virtual servers at a disaster recovery site from a remote site.

Insight Recovery is integrated with HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array-based products running Continuous Access data-replication software with HP ProLiant servers.

The U.S. list price per server for Insight Recovery is $995, or the eight- and 16- license packages are at $945 per server (eight licenses for $7,560 and 16 licenses for $15,120). Designed to ease server consolidation projects by saving time on manual data collection and analysis, HP Insight Dynamics – VSE has been updated as well. HP added the ability to automatically collect and analyze server utilization data from Dell, IBM and other Windows-based x86 servers.

HP added the feature not to help heterogeneous data centers improve server utilization rates on non-HP servers, but rather to encourage users to migrate from competitive systems onto HP BladeSystem and ProLiant servers; HP assumes its servers offer better utilization rates than the competition.

Now HP Insight Dynamics – VSE also supports Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, VMware ESXi, VMware ESX and HP Integrity virtual machines.

New options for HP VSE for Integrity servers include online migration for HP Integrity Virtual Machines and the ability to move additional workloads onto physical Integrity blade servers with drag-and-drop ease.

The HP Insight Dynamics – VSE suite for ProLiant servers is licensed by the server. Individual server prices range from $1,195 to $1,495, and there are 8 and 16 license packages offered with built-in discounts; prices range from $7,960 to $20,720 ($995 to $1,295 per server).

Reduced ROI
HP is marketing these new products as a way to reduce IT costs– but these add-ons aren't exactly cheap. The return on investment – in terms of man-hours saved with automation and streamlining systems for better efficiency – makes the software a smart investment though, according to HP's Mark Linesch, VP of marketing, Insight Software, enterprise storage and servers.

With these new features, HP is basically "simplifying the deployment of complicated stuff," said Illuminata, Inc. analyst Gordon Haff.

"The Insight Orchestration option for Insight Dynamics is an example," Haff said. "This capability isn't really new in the sense that a lot of the tooling is available as part of OpenView (and in fact, it makes use of some of the code and integrates with OpenView), but this is more oriented toward what could be thought of as a bottom-up implementation rather than something that has to be comprehensively architected in glorious detail from the get-go," Haff said.

And according to Jonathan Eunice, Principal IT Advisor with Illuminata, Inc., the enhanced capacity planning features within HP Insight Dynamics - VSE are especially important in large, complex data centers.

"There are a lot of products on the market that now let one slice and dice servers (VMware and Hyper-V for x86, say, or big iron partitions), and those products are now increasingly able to migrate workloads from one system to another--even while they're still running. The issue then becomes: How do you know where to shift the workload to?" Eunice said. "I think HP has done a great job not just answering this question...providing much deeper tools to know where workloads should go - with Capacity Advisor - and what to do to get complex workloads moved - with the Insight Orchestration functions."

The new Capacity Advisor keeps real historical data, for example, not just a few data points as some products do, and it boils fairly complex data sets down into a simple, star-based recommendation system, Eunice explained.

"This latest HP release is about providing more insight into what changes should be made and how best to make them, and more automation of the process," Eunice said. "Both the insight and the automation are about making the process easier and more work-a-day."

The software is available through HP and HP-certified channel partners.

*Jonathan Eunice's comments were added shortly after the article was initially posted.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer. And check out our data center blogs: Server Farming, Mainframe Propellerhead, and Data Center Facilities Pro

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