Today’s day started early for us, with early AM breakfast and then a shuttle to the HP facilities.
As this was my second “blogger event” at HP, I sort of expected some common things between the first #hptechday and than this #hpbladesday. Though the social media folks from HP and Ivyworldwide were all there, we saw a new team of folks from HP that manage and run the Blades Division.
The blades, storage and networking products infrastructure currently falls under a corporate umbrella ESSN (Enterprise Storage, Servers and Networking) headed by Dave Donatelli. Though this wasn’t a storage event, we all expected the primary theme of this event to be around Convergence.
The opening and the welcomes were done by Alyson Griffin (Director of Marketing for Blades and Infrastructure Software). She gave a view into where HP currently is with its blades and other business units and how different business segments were trending.
Gary Thome, the Chief Strategist and Chief Architect for the Blades platform took the stage. As expected Gary knows this business inside out and pretty much was the focal point of contact for any technical questions through out the entire event.
To see all the Bloggers around the table, a video by Calvin Zito.
Our primary contact through this entire event has been Becca Taylor, Social Media Manager for HP. She was along with us at every lunch, dinner and attended all the events. Great host and really took care of all the logistics around this event.
Early morning we had a hiccup with the Internet. It seems like HP doesn’t allow or have Guest networks in the building where the bloggers were invited. They had arranged for Cradle point routers in the conference room, but as multiple people joined these cradle point routers, it just started acting bizarre and dropped everyone’s connections.
It took them a while to get the Internet situation resolved by providing us with AT&T based broadband connections. This news made it to the Twitter stream. Hope going forward with any HP events, we do not see an Internet issue.
Then HP brought in a partner Nth Generation from San Diego, CA and the President of Nth Generation Mark Gonzalez gave his opinions on how they manage to compete in the IT reseller/var market with there strong partnership with HP.
Then Mike Kendall took the stage to talk about Virtual Connect technology and HP’s direction with it. It will be very hard to include that part of the presentation in this post; I will focus a separate blog post on where HP is going with its Virtual Connect technology.
Some highlights of the conversation were…
Network Convergence: FCoE and CEE (Lossless Ethernet).
CEE is also referenced as DCB (Data center Bridging). EVD (edge virtual bridging).
DCB + Traditional Ethernet = Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE)
EVB Standards (802.1Qbg)
Virtual Ethernet Bridge (VEB)
Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregation (VEPA)
HP Virtual Connect Qualities: Simplified, Converged, Integrated, Reduced complexity
After lunch, Gary Thome and his team including James Singer took us to their demo lab for a presentation on HP Blade systems. This was really a hands-on-lab demo with us being able to photograph every component within the HP Blade servers.
Then we went to the HP Insight Software presentation and demo labs. Though this was quite interesting, the HP Insight software raises some very basic questions around convergence. It has one-way integration to receive alerts within Vmware Infrastructure Manager with HP blades. Other questions that we asked were around integration of Insight Software with Storage products.
As much as HP likes to talk about Convergence related to infrastructure, it almost seems at this point that HP basically lacks a single pane of glass view into these converged products. It uses Insight manager to manage server products but for storage products it uses different tools. Also the HP-HDS products do not fit into this mode today. Another observation was the Insight Software products are currently not compatible with its Enterprise Non-stop platform (S Series).
During this demo, HP spend quite a bit of time on the Power capping related to its blade systems. How HP uses power management and DPS in its products and manages efficiency with its blade systems. It was quite a good demo…
Then we were presented with the HP Matrix software demo. The above 3 demos were done my John Schmitz, Bryan Jacquot and Tom Turicchi.
Then we headed back to the Blades lab for some competitive analysis. Wow, these guys had every blade server in there from their competition. HP blades were compared to Dell Blades, Cisco UCS and IBM Blades. Quite an analysis of all different components and how these components affect the performance metrics. This presentation was done my Gary Thome and James Singer along with Mike Kendall. There were quite a few other folks that were present at this competitive analysis session. For the hands-on guys, this was one of the dream sessions to see everything upwards, backwards, inside, outside, questions, comparisons, analysis, etc….
The day was almost coming to an end, when we just found out, that Paul Perez, CTO of HP Storageworks was coming in for a 30 min talk with all the bloggers. I have to honestly say, given my background and interest in storage, this was one of the most interesting part of my day.
I should call this session Paul Perez Unplugged. Expect the video to be released on this blog sometime later this week. We had a very good session with Paul talking about HP’s storage strategy, vision, where it sees itself and where is it headed.
Then we returned back to the hotel and were ready to leave for dinner sponsored my HP at the Mia Bella Restaurant in Houston. Food was good, had a nice time with other bloggers, HP and Ivyworldwide folks.
Headed back to the hotel. Someone just got an idea to go to a Karaoke bar that night. After a tired and long day, here we all hopped in a cab to head there. It was a very fun evening/night with Stephen Foskett, Greg Knieriemen, Frank Owen, Chris Evans, Halley Bass and Calvin Zito, I honestly have to say, these guys can sing.
After a long day and night, calling it off, hope we have an exciting day tomorrow.
Disclaimer: This event is sponsored by HP and hosted in Houston, TX. The flight, living and mostly food expenses were all paid by HP. This is a bloggers – invitation only event. No products have been given by HP.