Recent HP ProLiant G6 Server Management Innovations Take Edge Off of Ongoing OPEX Costs

The costs for IT departments of power and cooling as well as server management can no longer be overlooked, assumed static or just written off as a necessary evil of doing business. Recently published statistics reveal that the three (3) year operational expense (OPEX) for a single server in many cases now exceeds its acquisition costs . These growing OPEX expenditures are costs that everyone from the end-user through the distribution channel to manufacturers of the server hardware, like HP, are working to decrease.

IDC states in a recent press release that the total annual cost to “manage” the world’s installed base of external storage is about 60% of all enterprise storage-related spending, including software, power, cooling, administration personnel, and services.  IDC goes on to show in another presentation, The Impact of Power and Cooling on Data Center Infrastructure, that the ratio of new customer spending on server hardware versus their spending on power and cooling spending will almost draw even by 2010. This ratio was about 5:1 in 2000, 2:1 in 2005, and will approach or exceed10:7 by 2010.
To help organizations combat continuing increases in spending for administrative, cooling and power costs, HP this past spring introduced its new line of HP ProLiant G6 servers. These deliver exceptional performance and, more importantly, substantial gains in performance-per-watt compared to past generations and enable customers to get more value out of every dollar spent. In addition, HP’s innovations in server management are helping to ensure that the current iteration of ProLiant servers is the most efficient in HP’s history.
HP has always been a leader in various performance benchmarks but the ProLiant G6 is clearly focused on delivering the maximum performance per watt. Two of the more interesting ‘power’ features on the G6 that highlight HP’s increased focus on delivering lower ongoing OPEX costs for end-users include:

  • The addition of the Sea of Sensors. Each ProLiant G6 has approximately 32 small sensors across the system that take real-time thermal measurements and pass that data back to intelligent embedded software which manages temperature across the server. This process  enables it to accomplish tasks such as optimizing fan speeds, expansion slots and memory so they operate optimally without overheating the system.  In other words, the components get just enough cooling to operate properly without costly and wasteful over-cooling.
  • The standardization of common power slots. Almost all ProLiant G6 servers can use the same type of power supply. Power supplies operate more efficiently the higher they are utilized.  Therefore, the least wasteful system would use power supplies that provide just enough power to the internal components, enabling the supplies to meet or exceed 90% efficiency. By using common form factor power supplies, users can deploy systems with ones optimized for the servers being deployed.  This enables OEMs to optimize the deployment of ProLiant G6 based upon this standardized power configuration while also lowering the costs of sparing parts and restocking fees for HP support.  

These improvements in energy efficiency and server management should come as great news for OEMs as they can now send two new messages to their customers.  First, the ProLiant G6 servers provide new levels of power control so OEMs can accommodate their customers that are tapped out on power and/or need to reduce their power consumption within their data centers.  By capping server power consumption, solutions can confidently be deployed in environments with very limited power budgets available.

The other message OEMs can communicate is that the ProLiant G6 gives them new software tools to combat the high costs associated with server administration.  The HP ProLiant Onboard Administrator provides customers with simplified server setup, power and thermal control, extended health monitoring, and integrated lights-out (iLO) remote administration.
ProLiant G6 customers and/or their service providers can then leverage this technology to more effectively remotely manage their servers over a LAN, from a separate network, via the Internet, or even using side band connections if network ports are at a premium. The goal is to allow server administration from anywhere regardless where the server is located, be it in the same building, across town, or halfway around the world. These features ultimately enable OEMs to provide better value and service to their customers.

If there is any down side to the release of HP ProLiant G6 server it would have to be that the popularity of these new innovations created a demand problem. As a result, it took time for some OEMs to acquire these systems in house and limited their ability to do their own internal testing and validation. While these supply problems are now largely resolved, the time it took to correct this situation may have resulted in a lack of understanding about the ProLiant G6’s capabilities and delayed its release from OEMs.

This is when OEMs can be best served by a OEM distributor such as Bell Micro that has a tight relationship with HP and can help OEMs help their customers realize the benefits that next-gen server hardware like the ProLiant G6 provides. Offering a well developed OEM program and having worked with ProLiant technology for years, Bell Micro can help OEMs come up to speed and deploy these technologies into their customer environments more quickly than if an OEM just bought the technology and started playing with it themselves.  Faster time to revenue is a key benefit of partnering with Bell Micro and HP.

Recent evidence suggests that the operational costs associated with server hardware are only going to go up unless organizations pro-actively educate themselves about these issues and head them off.

So whether it is explaining what new management features are available on the ProLiant G6 or assisting OEMs in leveraging the remote monitoring and administrative capabilities to extend an OEM’s service capabilities that’s needed, Bell Micro can help OEMs with these tasks. In so doing, Bell Micro can help ensure that the HP solutions offered by OEMs run optimally once deployed, keep the OEMs’ and the OEMs customers’ management costs down over time and then can even potentially help them pro-actively diagnose issues before the OEM’s customers know they exist.

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