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HP Reinvents The Industry-Standard Server

HP’s next generation of ProLiant servers will be more self-sufficient and automated, reducing up to 50% of manual operations. The company unveiled ProLiant Generation 8 in Las Vegas as part of its Project Voyager initiative.

The servers, which will be available starting March 6, is the first set of products from Project Voyager, an HP initiative designed to redefine the expectations and economics of the data center. The company has injected additional intelligence into the server line to increase automation, which will save clients millions of dollars in operations costs, says Jeff Carlat, director of software marketing for industry-standard servers and software at HP.

"Generation 8 is not a commodity server. We are truly delivering a premium product in what’s to be considered a commodity market. The innovation that’s going on here will really drive greater value for customers," he states.

Whether the Generation 8 servers offer a truly unique value proposition remains to be seen, and, according to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, virtually every other x86 vendor is pursuing a similar kind of product development strategy.

"I think there are a lot of positive elements to the announcement. I’m always a little wary when I hear a vendor saying they’re going to be changing the market with a unique new approach," he says. "I think that HP should be congratulated in taking what is clearly a very serious approach to delivering integrated systems that are built to maximize both the value of the company’s investments in these new systems and also to drive savings in the long-term operational expenditures that supporting those systems over time will require."

According to HP, an enterprise spends more than $45 million per year on manual operations (including server administration, application deployment, and power and cooling management) in the average 10,000-square-foot data center. Manual operations introduce human errors, which can cause unexpected downtime and cost companies an additional $10 million per hour. The new servers were designed to take much of the manual operation away from administrators by automating the tasks.

The value of ProLiant Generation 8 servers is in their ability to adapt to their environment in real time by continuously analyzing thousands of system parameters, which enables them to optimize the performance of applications and improve uptime. According to HP, automating previously manual tasks also improves productivity while reducing the number of errors and simplifying operations for dynamic computing models like virtualization and cloud.

Generation 8 servers are built on HP ProActive Insight architecture, which Carlat says provides several key benefits for customers. ProActive Insight provides continuous intelligence on various server diagnostics, including server health and power usage. According to HP, this means online systems can be deployed three times faster and downtime reduced by as much as 93%.

Integrated lifecycle automation drives more intelligence into the servers to make them smarter and more efficient, reducing administrator time by up to 69% during online updates. HP has embedded the ability to do intelligent provisioning into a NAND flash on the server. It has decreased the number of steps to deploy a ProLiant server by 45%. Carlat says that since keeping server firmware versions up to date is a customer pain point, the company has built in a smart update feature to make firmware updates simple and quick. Continuous monitoring of system health can improve uptime and speed up root-cause analysis by five times, according to HP.

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