Taking its cue from consumer apps and devices, HP today took the wraps off a new infrastructure management platform intended to revolutionize the way IT administrators manage the data center, whether on-premises or leveraging an OpenStack cloud.
Dubbed HP OneView, the infrastructure management platform for HP Converged Infrastructure uses a Facebook-like interface and automation to simplify the management of data center processes—deployment, updating, migrating and troubleshooting—reducing the time required to perform many activities from days and hours to mere minutes, says Jeff Carlat, director of Converged Systems Product Management at HP.
"The reason we're doing this is because the world is evolving," Carlat says. "The demand on businesses is way outstripping the capacity of IT to deliver services. The current generation of management tools are really suboptimal to giving organizations what they need. They require a lot of people and serial processes."
Consumerization of IT Infrastructure Makes IT More Efficient
By leveraging a social media-like interface and automated intelligence, Carlat says the OneView platform will help IT adapt to this changing world, allowing IT organizations to deploy their resources more efficiently and reducing the risk of the introduction of human error in basic but time-consuming tasks.
For instance, using traditional tools to provision hypervisors across 16 servers would require two hours and 50 minutes of administrative time, Carlat says. With HP OneView, it would equire only 14 minutes, he says. Or take retiring a virtual local area network (vLAN), which he says would take more than 480 steps and more than two hours with a traditional tool. OneView, he says, would allow an IT administrator to complete the task with four steps and 30 seconds of administrative time.
The entire platform is built on RESTful APIs and designed with extensibility in mind, Carlat says.
"Every single screen, every task within the tool is programmable and can be automated," he adds, noting that HP will make available a programmable interface through an SDK that will allow IT teams to tailor the platform specifically for their needs.
He also notes that it plans to integrate with the management tools of close partners like VMware and Microsoft.
"We see this as a huge opportunity to foster an ecosystem around this," he adds.
Carlat notes that HP spent the last four years collaborating with more than 150 leading customers across 30 real-world data centers to delve into the drivers of cost, inefficiencies and delays associated with common infrastructure management tasks, processes and steps to develop OneView.
At the same time, HP studied modern consumer applications that are purpose-built for specific tasks and sought to apply the lessons it learned to the complexity and scale of the data center. The result, Carlat says, is an infrastructure management platform that can deploy and manage HP infrastructure faster, with a 42 percent lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and a 220 percent return on investment (ROI).
Carlat also points to additional benefits, including the following:
- Automation allows workloads to be migrated up to five times faster than with manual operations
- The administration time to configure servers is nine times faster compared with manual operations
- Network configurations are an estimated 24 times faster than compared with manual operations.
The features inspired by consumer applications include the following:
- Dashboards that allow users to view the entire data center in seconds. Carlat says the view is equally simple whether you have 16 devices or 640: With a single click you can drill down into any particular area or grouping for deeper information.
- Smart Search, which allows administrators to find key information using search. "A traditional tool uses trees and branches," Carlat says. "That doesn't work for large-scale data centers. The World Wide Web isn't based on a tree and a branch. It's based on search. This is similar to a Google search. You can search from any screen in the user interface and get results in as little as 200 milliseconds. You can find a group of servers or a single Mac address."
- MapView, a visualization of the relationship between devices, connections and status that Carlat says helps administrators find, triage and fix problems in seconds or minutes. "It shows exactly what the servers are connected to, the storage profiles and firmware," he says. "It combines the status of the infrastructure with the relationship of what it's connected to."
- Templates that allow teams to collaborate on best practices for deploying with speed and accuracy. "With CI Templates, you can work together to form a profile that can be rolled out in a seamless, integrated and repeatable fashion," Carlat says.
- An activity feed that provides teams with the ability to communicate without leaving the platform for an outside tool, while also combining tasks, hardware alerts and administrative notes into a single view.
Universal Infrastructure Management Platform Allows IT to Scale
"Existing IT infrastructure management tools are designed for individual devices, but don't scale well in large data centers and are not optimized for the user," Marian Lakov, enterprise architect, Technology Architecture at United Airlines.
"As a result," Lakov says, "it's hard for United Airlines to scale IT services without 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 centers and is optimized for infrastructure teams. Our initial findings have been very promising and we believe that going forward, OneView will allow the United IT team to configure and manage the IT infrastructure in a more efficient way."
OneView is designed for the HP BladeSystem, HP ProLiant Generation 8 and HP ProLiant Generation 7 servers.
On the services front, HP is upping the ante on support.
"From the original design, we thought about services from the start," says Mary McCoy, vice president of Technology Services at HP. "HP is including three years of 24-by-7 technical support and three years of updates with each license."
"You also get 60 minutes of web-based training," she adds. "CIOs buy tools for IT managers and often those tools will only get used at 20 percent of their capacity. We want people to access the full capacity of this tool. We want you to know everything this tool is capable of, to understand its full extensibility and programmatic approach."
HP will make OneView available beginning in October. Pricing will begin at $799 for a single license.
Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. Email Thor at firstname.lastname@example.org