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By Chris Purcell
What makes the future exciting? Simplicity. In all of our wildest imaginings in stories and movies about what the future will be like, a simpler life is almost always a central theme, driven by amazing technologies. The world today is getting closer and closer to these imaginings. The smartphone gives us one place to do pretty much anything, anywhere. You don’t necessarily have to get out of bed to turn the lights off if you’ve equipped your home with “smart lights,” and you can use your phone to activate your robot vacuum while you do more valuable things. The coolest up and coming tech, self-driving cars, are already driving on the roads, and companies such as Uber are equipping themselves with an army of them to take us all on driverless adventures as soon as the technology that supports them is perfect.
The key to simplicity is getting something done with as little effort as possible so that you can use the saved time and energy to do something more valuable. One of the places that needs simplicity the most is the data center where a mix of infrastructure often becomes difficult to manage and maintain. Infrastructure management that leverages software-defined intelligence should be at the core of driving simplicity for the data center, minimizing time spent on manual, repetitive tasks, and reducing human error. Infrastructure management should also do a better job of self-monitoring for issues that, with today’s technologies, can be resolved with little-to-no human intervention.
Finding an infrastructure management solution that brings that kind of software-defined intelligence to the data center doesn’t have to be a dream of the future. When you’re searching for something to make life easier, you should look to make sure it meets a few basic requirements.
Template-based provisioning and updates
Provisioning servers is often a task that involves manual labor and because of that, introduces a lot of room for errors. Template based provisioning cuts down on the time it takes to provision and significantly reduces errors. Think about a server template as a fixed course menu. This menu is crafted by expert chefs on your staff, or in this case, subject matter experts for servers, storage and networking, all working together to define the very best ingredients (settings) for your meal. This template is then deployed to every server you choose, and then repeated exactly the same way every time you need it. You can queue up the provisioning of hundreds of servers and go work on something else while your infrastructure management software does the work for you. You can create as many unique templates as you need to cover all of your workloads and applications.
Template based provisioning is practically the very definition of self-driving. You press go, sit back, and enjoy the extra time you have to work on things that create more value for the business.
A consolidated view of all of your infrastructure
You probably have more than just one type of infrastructure, and you may even have infrastructures spread out across multiple data centers in multiple locations worldwide. At scale, most infrastructure management software is going to require a separate instance once you reach a scale limit. This results in multiple infrastructure management instances to keep track of.
Just imagine a company with data centers in multiple cities, across several countries, involving a mix of platforms. How do you quickly and easily make sure it’s all running smoothly? To make handling these multiple instances doable, you need a single, consolidated view to see everything at once. Being able to see the health and status of your entire infrastructure from a single dashboard allows you to quickly respond to issues on any platform at any data center. It’s like having a smart phone app for your infrastructure.
Integrated remote support
Last but certainly not least, what if you could have an extra set of helping hands around your data center, checking on mundane but important items? Tasks like maintaining warranties for your equipment, ordering replacement parts, or handling your service tickets. What if this person came included with your management software? Integrated remote support should be part of your infrastructure management, saving you time on issues that a computer can easily perform.
Imagine the time savings if you had integrated support that could open a service ticket for you and send you an email to let you know when it is opened and when it is resolved. If a part breaks, your infrastructure management should be able to identify it, automatically order the part for you, and have it delivered straight to the data center. Systems built with software-defined intelligence will know what is broken without your help. Keeping up with small but very important maintenance tasks like these, without having dedicated staff, can really make a difference in keeping things running smoothly.
The self-driving data center is here today
You don’t have to look far to find these software-defined features. HPE OneView manages all of your HPE servers, storage, and networking at scale, and the HPE OneView Global Dashboard allows you to keep tabs on your entire infrastructure. And, integrated remote support is included with every HPE OneView license, for free.
Chris Purcell drives analysts relations for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The Software-Defined and Cloud Group organization is responsible for marketing for composable infrastructure, HPE OneView, HPE SimpliVity hyperconverged solutions and HPE OneSphere.