It came to my attention that HP has announced its Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager software. This appears to be software to manage its own Virtual Connect hardware that was announced in 2006. What does this announcement mean to most organizations?
What's HP Virtual Connect?Here are HP's words to describe Virtual Connect:
Each HP BladeSystem c-Class includes the Virtual Connect architecture - a five terabit mid-plane with eight high-performance interconnect bays in the back to enable customers to manage and connect to the existing standards and familiar brands in their data center such as Cisco, Brocade or Nortel. All third-party and HP interconnect options are hot-pluggable and can be deployed in pairs for full redundancy.
What's HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager?HP would describe this software in the following way:
HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager (VCEM) simplifies the management of BladeSystem environments that use Virtual Connect to control LAN and SAN connectivity, helping organizations increase productivity, respond more quickly to business demands, and significantly reduce operating costs. Built on existing HP Virtual Connect technology, VCEM provides a central console to manage and control infrastructure resources, a single resource pool for LAN and SAN address administration, and grouping capabilities that enable rapid, reliable deployment and movement of servers across the datacenter.
Together, Virtual Connect and Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager create a change-ready datacenter environment. Administrators can add, replace and recover servers on-the-fly in minutes, significantly reducing typical deployment and maintenance costs
Snapshot AnalysisIf datacenters were made up of just HP blade servers, the combination of virtual connect and virtual connect enterprise manager would certainly make life easier. This, of course, is seldom true. While they would certainly help HP's own customers, they wouldn't be all that helpful to organizations haveing the typical datacenter - that is a room full of many vendor's equipment and software. Others, such as Cassatt and Scalent Systems, have observed the same problem that HP is trying to address and come up with cross-vendor solutions that do the same thing. If I'm not mistaken, IBM and Sun offer different tools to accomplish the same thing in their own environment.
So, if your organization's datacenter looks like an HP showroom, this technology is likely to be very helpful. If the datacenter has pockets of HP equipment, this technology may still be of help if added to the current management tool kit. If there's little or no HP presence, this announcement isn't enough, all by itself, for me to suggest uprooting your current investment in blade computing systems and rush over to HP.