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New Features in ProLiant Architecture and Tools

Since the mid-sixties, the de-facto standard for the rate of increase in processing power has been "Moore's Law." Today, next-generation processors are powering servers to a new era of exponential increase in performance. ProLiant Servers are stepping up the pace with new processor technology called x86 Extensions. The Opteron Processor from AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) and Xeon Processors with EM64T (Extended Memory 64-bit Technology) from Intel bring new processor power and technology to ProLiant.

In addition to these new processors for ProLiant, this section highlights some of the new features and technologies in ProLiant Servers, Server Options, and ProLiant Essentials Software that complement the features found in Window Server 2003.

New x86 Processors from AMD and Intel with 64 bit Extensions

Throughout its life, the X86 processor architecture has been extended many times. One of the most exciting new developments for Industry Standard Servers is the latest extension to the platform. The updated architecture is based on 64-bit extensions to the industry-standard x86 instruction set, allowing today's 32-bit applications to run natively on 64-bit extended processors such as the AMD Opteron and the Intel Xeon with Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T). At the same time, new 64-bit applications are executed in 64-bit mode, which processes more data per clock cycle, allows greater access to memory breaking the four gigabyte memory barrier, and speeds numeric calculations. The end result is a platform that leverages the existing wealth of 32-bit applications while also providing a smooth migration path to 64-bit computing.

AMD Opteron 200 and 800 Series Processors

The 200 series processors are now available in the ProLiant DL145 and the 800 series are available in the ProLiant DL585. They offer a substantial performance increase with the Opteron processor architecture. Table 1.6 shows some of the key features and benefits of the Opteron.

Table 1.6 AMD Opteron Processor Features and Benefits

Feature

Benefit

Simultaneous 32- and 64-bit computing capabilities

Allows users to run 32-bit and/or 64-bit applications and operating systems as they desire without sacrificing performance

Support of up to three coherent HyperTransport links, providing up to 19.2GB/s peak bandwidth per processor

Provides substantial I/O bandwidth for current and future application needs

256TB of memory address space

Creates a significant performance benefit for applications in which large (or many) datasets are held in memory

Scales from one-way to eight-way across entire data or compute centers utilizing the same hardware and software infrastructure

Allows for maximum flexibility in IT infrastructure, helping contribute to bottom-line success

Integrated memory controller reduces latencies during memory access in an SMP server system

Yields fast computational processing for increased performance and productivity


Intel Xeon processors with 64-bit Extensions

Intel's new Xeon processors became available mid-2004; HP delivered one- and two-way ProLiant servers with the new Xeon processors in summer 2004, with four- and eight-way models expected in 2005. See the HP Web site (http://www.hp.com) for details. Table 1.7 shows the new Intel Xeon processor features.

Table 1.7 Intel Xeon Processors with 64-bit Extensions Features

Performance Features

Xeon Extensions Add . . .

Increased frequency headroom; 3.6GHz/1MB cache

Additional Registers: 8 SSE and 8 general purpose

800MHz FSB—1.5x system bus speed versus 533MHz FSB

Double precision (64-bit) integer support

DDR2-400—Faster memory technology

Extended memory addressability (64-bit) pointers, registers

PCI Express 4x - 8x—Faster I/O

 


Processor Performance Comparison

The performance measurements were conducted on the ProLiant DL145 with 2.2GHz Opteron processors against the ProLiant DL140 server using 3.2GHz Intel Xeon processors and the 32-bit version of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 using Ziff Davis Media Inc.'s WebBench 5.0 benchmark. The benchmark results showed:

  • The 2P ProLiant DL145 is 57% faster than the ProLiant DL140.

  • The 1P ProLiant DL145 is 44% faster than the ProLiant DL140.

  • The ProLiant DL145 with dual processors achieved a 39% higher performance score than with a single processor. The ProLiant DL140 showed only 28% performance scalability. This represents a 39% processor scalability advantage for the ProLiant DL145 over the ProLiant DL140.

Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems

Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems provides high performance for both 32-bit and 64-bit applications on the same system. The underlying architecture is based on 64-bit extensions to the industry-standard x86 instruction set, allowing today's 32-bit applications to run natively on 64-bit extended processors such as the AMD Opteron and the Intel Xeon with Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T). At the same time, new 64-bit applications are executed in 64-bit mode, which processes more data per clock cycle, allows greater access to memory, and speeds numeric calculations. The end result is a platform that leverages the existing wealth of 32-bit applications while also providing a smooth migration path to 64-bit computing. Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems is currently under development, with delivery scheduled for the second half of 2004. Prerelease versions of the operating system are available for evaluation from the Microsoft Web site.

HP is looking forward to the benchmarks for ProLiant with x86 extension processors running Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems. In this testing, the performance capabilities and benefits of the x86 extensions will be fully realized. It should prove to be an exciting day in ProLiant history.

ProLiant Blade Servers

One of the most notable new products in the ProLiant Line is the blade server. HP pioneered blade technology a few years ago, so this technology is not brand-new. However, it is maturing and starting to catch on as blades are engineered for the enterprise and their compelling benefits are more widely recognized. The basic idea behind blade servers is consolidation. By allowing servers to share resources provided by an enclosure, the individual servers can be made much more compact. The architecture not only allows you to put a lot more processing power into a smaller space, but also its modular design simplifies deployment. In terms of hardware, two basic components are in a blade server solution: the blades and the enclosure that houses them. The enclosure connects the blades installed to the shared resources, and can be configured for I/O options according to your needs. The blades are complemented by automated deployment software that utilizes scripting or drive imaging to rapidly deploy a server. A server can be deployed in 10 minutes over a gigabit Ethernet connection using drive imaging. Blade servers save space, drastically reduce cabling, and simplify installation and the processes in deploying and managing servers. The ProLiant BL-p series offers multiple processors, the benefits of the blade architecture, and many of the enterprise class server features found in ProLiant 300 and 500 series rack mount servers. As an example, the BL20p blade delivers these enterprise-class capabilities:

  • Dual-processor capability

  • 8GB memory capacity

  • Integrated Smart Array 5i Plus

  • Dual 3.5-inch SCSI hot plug drive bays

  • Dual Fiber Channel ports, optional for redundant SAN connections

  • Three 10/100/1000T Ethernet ports

  • One iLO (integrated Lights-Out) advanced management port

  • Rack-centralized, external shared redundant hot-plug power

These capabilities make the BL20p blades ideal for hosting these applications:

  • Web-hosting

  • E-commerce

  • Computational cluster

  • Terminal Server Farm

  • AV, streaming media

  • Messaging front-end and mobility

  • Small database

  • Application server

Add in the benefit of storage consolidation by attaching and even booting blades from a SAN, and you can build a robust and rapidly adaptable infrastructure. For some really cool ideas on using blade servers in advanced architectures and configurations, check http://www.phptr.com/title/0131467581 for technical papers on "Automated Provisioning with ProLiant Servers."

Systems Insight Manager (SIM)

Customer surveys show one of the most popular value-adding feature sets of the ProLiant server family is the enhanced management capabilities present across the platform. HP has brought together the HP OpenView and Insight Manager Development teams. Working together, they have created the next generation systems-management application called HP Systems Insight Manager (SIM). It combines the strengths of Insight Manager 7, HP Toptools, and HP Servicecontrol Manager into a single tool for managing ProLiant, Integrity, and HP 9000 systems running Windows, Linux, and HP-UX. The core SIM software delivers the essential capabilities required to manage all HP server platforms.

Following are some of the core capabilities and benefits of SIM:

  • SIM is free and included with all ProLiant and Integrity Servers, or customers can download SIM from the HP Web site.

  • SIM offers more stability and efficiency through management across hardware platforms and operating systems. SIM provides common configuration, performance, and management across all HP servers. It also enables management of clients, printers, storage, and other devices.

  • Automated fault detection and reporting enables you to detect and respond to potential and actual failures before they result in unplanned server downtime. Staff can be notified via console, pager, or e-mail.

  • Automated asset inventory and reports reduce time and effort associated with discovering, identifying, and collecting configuration data for managed systems. Simplified report generation improves preparation tasks.

  • Automated software updates reduce time and effort associated with maintaining up-to-date system software baselines. Version control and software repository automates software download, gives available updates, and allows distribution of components to groups of systems.

  • Command-line interface in all versions of SIM support command-line access to scripting capabilities.

  • Security features are enhanced because all users have individual accounts and log on to SIM using their OS username and password. All HTTP communications are protected using 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and all commands to applications integrated using standard tool definition files are encrypted using Secure Shell (SSH).

  • SIM can be extended with plug-ins to deliver enhanced device management for rapid deployment, performance management, partition management, workload management, HP clients, storage, power, and printer products.

  • ProLiant Essentials Performance Management Pack now integrates seamlessly with HP SIM to provide hardware bottleneck analysis for ProLiant servers and now Modular Storage Array (MSA) series storage. Five complementary licenses are included in the SIM installation package

  • Snapshot comparisons allow staff to compare configuration snapshots of up to four different servers or configuration snapshots of a single server over time. This assists IT staff in pinpointing configuration issues that might contribute to system instability.

  • Insight Manager 7 migration utility is included to transfer Windows servers Insight Manager 7 settings to HP SIM with either an in-place upgrade on the same server or transfer of Insight Manager 7 data to SIM on another server.

  • SIM uses the same management agents and instrumentation that Insight Manager 7 uses, so no agent updates are required on managed systems when upgrading or installing a SIM server.

  • SIM enables consolidation of general IT resource management by managing all HP servers while still allowing OS and server platform specialists to focus on specific needs.

  • Improves efficiency by monitoring progress of management tasks across groups of diverse systems from a central point of control.

  • Reduces training expenses typically associated with learning multiple management tools.

AD Integration of iLO and RILOE II

The integrated Lights-Out (iLO) advanced and Remote Insight Lights-Out Edition II (RILOE II) standard feature set now includes Directory Services integration. The iLO and RILOE II are hardware-based management processor solutions that provide a "Virtual presence at the server," allowing full access and remote control of the server, independent of the state of the operating system or server hardware even when the server is hung or powered off "in a lights-out state."

What Directory Services integration means is you can now manage user access and privilege levels on the iLO and RILOE II boards through AD, centralizing and simplifying access management. Formerly this was done individually through a browser or in groups via the Lights-Out Configuration Utility. This new feature is free and provides Windows Administrators a familiar interface to manage the iLO and RILOE II across the AD.

ProLiant's iLO Now Provides "Terminal Services Pass Through" for Windows Remote Console Sessions

ProLiant servers with the iLO Advanced Features Pack enabled can leverage iLO's remote console function to provide Terminal Services pass through authentication to Windows Server.

Beginning with iLO firmware version 1.50, the iLO can leverage the OS functionality of Windows Terminal Services and a remote desktop connection to significantly increase the responsiveness of the graphical remote console. Terminal Services complements the technology within iLO by providing a software-based remote console when the Windows Server OS is functioning normally. In the event the Windows Server OS is not functioning normally, iLO can revert to the hardware-based console at any time. This gives administrators the performance of an OS-based, graphical remote console with the assurance that the hardware-based iLO remote console is available at all times.

One Button Disaster Recovery (ODBR) Tape Drives

OBDR can rapidly restore or replicate a server's operating system, software applications, and data using tape cartridge(s). This is possible because the tape drive emulates a CD-ROM that allows the server to "boot from tape." This standard feature is embedded in the firmware of HP tape drives.

ODBR is easy to set up and use. It is supported on ProLiant ML and DL servers with fifth- and sixth-generation Smart Array controllers; Ultra3 and Ultra320 SCSI controllers; and SDLT, DAT, and Ultrium Tape Drives. Some of ODBR's key benefits are

  • Provides fast restores and server replication using only a tape cartridge.

  • No additional media, such as CD-ROMs or floppies, are required.

  • The HP OBDR functionality allows an IT Administrator to perform a complete system restore from a remote location via the HP RILOE on ProLiant Servers. The process includes the ability to invoke the OBDR mode during Power On Self Test (POST) using the <F8> function key from the remote client. The powerful combination of OBDR and RILOE gives the Administrators the ability to completely recover a failed server at a remote location without physically traveling to where the server resides.

  • Independent software vendors supporting OBDR on Window Server 2003 are Yosemite TapeWare, VERITAS Backup Exec, Novastor NovaNet, and ULTRABAC.

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