HP Blades Day 2010: Thursday – Day 1

March 1st, 2010 No comments

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.

HP Facilities

All Blogger Attending #HPBLADESDAY

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.

Gary Thome

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.

Look for the GESTALTIT's (G) in the presentation my Mark

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)


Remote Replication

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.

Paul Perez

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.

HP Blades Tech Day 2010, Wednesday – Day 0

February 25th, 2010 1 comment

Day 0, full of travel and socializing with people..

So the travel started for all of us attending the HP Blades Tech Day today. As the afternoon rolled here, people from the UK arrived, people locally from the US arrived at this nice hotel in Houston, TX where HP has arranged for the Bloggers to stay.

Can’t complain about the weather in Houston, TX, though its in the 40’s, it feels so much better not to see snow on the ground. Living in NJ these days have almost become like living in the Arctic with snow covered roads and yards.., though I shouldn’t complain too much about the temperature in NJ.

After arriving here in Houston this afternoon, got to meet up with the folks attending the event and the IVY Worldwide team along with Becca Taylor, HP Social Media Manager. It was also very nice of Calvin Zito (HP Storage Blog) to travel to Houston for this event.

The fellow bloggers attending this event are..

Rich Brambley

Greg Knieriemen

Stephen Foskett

Chris Evans

Simon Seagrave

John Obeto

Frank Owen

Kevin Houston

Martin Macleod

Its always good to catch up with folks in the same industry we all are from, get to learn, talk and understand new directions and strategies that are ongoing in our market space.

I like these events, as much as they are about understanding technologies and deep dive sessions and marketing pitches, in the downtime, we all get to work and collaborate on various different topics and technologies which makes these events very unique in itself.

From the IVY Worldwide team, we have Halley Bass, Tom Augenthaler, Jeff Nielson. They are the ones that are arranging all the logistics, agenda and coordinating the entire event, amazing work guys….

Today’s dinner was at a place called Fusion Pizza. Lots of chat during the dinner hours, came back to the hotel to try some Nigerian Palm Juice that John Obeto brought in for the crew…it was great…a pungent smell to a nice tasting fermented palm juice.

Nigerian Palm Juice - Picture by Rich Brambley

Stay tuned for all the twitter activity, possibly a blog post about Day 1 later tomorrow….

As for some of the agenda tomorrow, we have key presentations from the Data Center folks regarding Virtual Connect, BladeSystem and Insight Manager Software. I would expect a mix of technology-focused discussions with some marketing presentations. There also seems to be an Infosmack Podcast scheduled for tomorrow evening, where some bloggers will be jumping on and describing their experience about HP Blades Day 2010.

As a welcome package, here are the things we received from HP this afternoon….

Welcome package from HP

I believe over the next few days, I will try to keep the blog post coming describing the daily events, but once back home, start looking at these technologies and write some deep-dive sessions on them…

After a long night of socializing with the fellow bloggers, calling off now…



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.

Staying in touch while traveling abroad

February 23rd, 2010 1 comment


Just an offbeat topic…nothing to do with storage or virtualization, but might come handy if you were traveling outside the US for business. This post may just help you do your business better, help you stay connected to people, give you means to collaborate and provide full access to your information (either corporate or personal) while traveling abroad.


The Pleasure of flying on the A380

Staying in touch

These days it has been quite easy to stay in touch with people here in the US while traveling abroad. Our dependencies are typically around mobile (smart) phones, Wi-Fi connections for laptops and being able to stay connected with family, friends, work and social media.

If you were traveling to the typical G20 nations, things may be easy with connecting back home, but it always presents a challenge. Traveling outside these countries may present a bigger challenge with being able to connect through your fingertips. Some of these challenges would be around finding Wi-Fi hotspots, making international phone calls, staying in touch with social media, etc.


Mobile Smart Phones

One of the best options at least based on what I have experienced in the past 3 years is being able to carry a Verizon Global Phone (e.g. a Blackberry 8830 or a Blackberry Tour or a Blackberry Storm) and subscribe to a Global Roaming plan (which typically includes Voice and Data) and works in about 160 countries around the globe.

With only a fractional addition to your current plan, you will be able to keep the same phone, same phone number, installed apps, address book, calendar, emails and connect back to your Blackberry corporate server, either from a CDMA or GSM network whether be North America or EMEA or Asia Pacific with constant access to your data and voice through your global roaming plan.

To get in touch with you by a person in the US or a person located overseas, its merely dialing your US phone number and all calls independent of where you are, will be forwarded to you through the global roaming capabilities. This feature comes quite handy when you are traveling and you will not need to give 2 or 3 different phone numbers to people that would typically try to get in touch with you.

Though at times in some countries inbound calls on your cell phone may not display the name and number of the caller and may show up as a private number or a blocked number, you are guaranteed to receive all calls.

These days I have also seen the iPhones (AT&T versions) being able to practically do the same with global roaming when it comes to voice, but data plans while traveling are super expensive, which means, you may not be able to upload or download any data to your phone, apps, emails, etc.

Typically with Verizon global phones, as you land at an airport and turn on your cell phone, you get a welcome txt message along with all the prefix numbers that you will need to initiate a call to the US and for any calls locally in country.

Verizon Wireless is able to provide these global roaming facilities through its 45% ownership by Vodaphone a UK based cellular giant.

Again if you have any other options (even outside of Verizon Wireless) to get a global roaming phone, I would highly recommend it. Its just a not very convenient thing to buy cell phones, buy SIM cards, getting them topped with minutes, at times not being able to make calls and foremost staying without a data plan while traveling.


Twitter and other social media apps

If you have an twitter app installed on your phone that allows you to stay in touch with your twitter followers, followings and friends, it should work just fine as you travel from countries to countries or continents to continents.

Other Apps you may want to have on your cell phone may include Weather, Facebook, Flickr, Maps, etc

Again anything that you are known to run on your phones locally in the US, should work while using the same phones overseas.



Though I wonder with China’s Internet policies, would one still be able to browse the content on an international global roaming phone when that phone is locally using the Internet in China to connect to the world?



Not a bad idea to have your family and friends connect to you through Skype while traveling internationally, quite a bit of savings, amazing voice and video quality. So if the laptop you are carrying allows you to install Skype, go for it…

Also install Skype on your smart phones, which will help you make international calls very cost effectively. The latest word I hear as of couple of days ago, Verizon Wireless has given a node to have Skype on all the smart phones that are offered under its plan. That will enable people to make Skype calls locally and internationally.


Internet Connections

Finding free Wi-Fi connections to use in your hotel rooms or lobby is next to impossible. The cost of Internet (physical or Wi-Fi) connections is pretty high in rest of the world. There are times where it’s likely you will not get an Internet connection.  Though I have found that staying with a US based hotel chain typically is a bit helpful when it comes to electronic communications.

If there are a few people that travel overseas from your organization at the same places, it may not be a bad idea to purchase a few USB broadband Internet connections for a monthly fee, which will enable broadband (wireless) access in those countries.



Most of your electronic equipment will just survive fine with using power adapters (verify they are 100v-240v capable & 50/60 Hz capable, which most of them are these days). Best practice carry one adapter and one power extension cord (US) and that will enable you to plug all your US devices with just one international adapter.


Prepare before you leave

Make sure you have things prepared before you leave. For a casual traveler it may be second nature to travel within the US, but traveling internationally does present a few challenges. Verify you have power adapters, power extension cord, mobile global roaming, provisions for Internet connections, apps installed on your phone, etc before hand. It may not be very convenient to go hunting for these things the same day you land after a long flight.



Yea this is where it gets interesting, Internet connections for one day might range as much as 30 to 60 US dollars in some countries, again do not expect it to be free.

Regarding your cell phones, consider the cost of purchasing a new phone, topping the minutes on the SIM, purchasing a SIM card, paying a fee for international calling, not having full access to your contacts, emails, calendar, etc are just a few things to consider.  Not having data plans typically hurt as well.

If you are carrying any cell phone and are not aware if it has global roaming, please refrain from using those, I have heard stories about people being charged USD 10K for using international roaming voice minutes and data kb thinking it was all covered because the phone was working.

Verify with your existing wireless subscriber as to what services are included as part of your global roaming and how they charge for each used minute and each used kb of data in the countries you plan to visit.


Demographics about the country

If you are going to a country for the first time, it may not be a bad idea to read up a few things about that country on Wikipedia or on CIA’s Demographics page.



Sorry, this post is only talking about traveling from the US to other countries, I don’t think I would be able to think of everything that one needs to prepare to come to the US.

Though one thing I would absolutely say, if you are traveling from overseas to the US and need any electronic gadgets or computers etc, it may not be a bad idea to stop by at a FRY’s or BESTBUY or APPLE stores to see if you can purchase them cheaper here.


Disclaimer: I do not own any shares in Verizon Wireless or Vodaphone or FRY’s or BESTBUY or APPLE or Blackberry, neither have I received any free products from them. This blog post is purely based on my experience traveling internationally and what I find convenient to have and necessary to have.

HP Blades and Infrastructure Software TechDay 2010

February 22nd, 2010 1 comment

So back to the new years (2010) events now….

HP Blades and Infrastructure Software Tech Day 2010 is being hosted in Houston, TX on the 25th and 26th of Feb, 2010. An invitation only event focused around various HP related Compute, Virtualization and Networking Technologies (Converged Infrastructure) and possibly some new product announcements.

The Tech Day was initially launched by HP last year particularly by the Storage Group and now has become quite famous within the industry to invite bloggers and independent social media voices to these events and give them briefings about products and technologies.

These briefings include Company Executives providing a vision into the technology, possibly the next gen or future roadmaps without any NDA’s, live demos of the product by engineering teams, hands on lab, inside tour of the labs, how today’s technology helps solve business problems, marketing pitches and a deep dive session on some selected technologies.

I have been fortunate to been invited again to this event. Though the topics of discussion are not exactly disclosed yet, but stay tuned for the entire coverage of this event on this blog and also on the twitter stream.

The twitter hashcode for this event is #hpbladesday

So far here are a few Industry experts that are attending this event (in random order).

Rich Brambley:

Greg Knieriemen: Infosmack Podcast

Stephen Foskett:

Chris Evans:

Simon Seagrave:

John Obeto:

Frank Owen:

Kevin Houston:

Martin Macleod:

Calvin Zito from HP will be attending the event; you can catch Calvin’s HP Storage Blog here

Here is the link to previous HPTECHDAY blog posts on the StorageNerve blog.

To follow all #hpbladesday invitees on twitter, here is a list put together by Greg Knieriemen

This event is being organized by IVY Worldwide.

At this event, it will be good to understand HP’s current vision and roadmap with its Blades technology and with all the converged products.

Though I am not officially required to write about these technology briefings and deepdive sessions, if I find something interesting, you will see it in form of a technology discussion at this blog.

Twitter #hpbladesday