HP BladeSystem Matrix
HP's state-of-the-art blade server system and array of automation tools haven't squeezed all manual labor out of service provisioning, but they show the automated and adaptive datacenter is within reach
- Hard to force Insight Orchestration to do something that can't be done, Web-based interface is snappy and responsive
- Initial configuration is not for the faint of heart.
HP BladeSystem Matrix incorporates a wide array of moving parts and ties them together well. It’s still a significantly complex solution, but part of the purchase price includes integration. The hardware is impressive, and the management tools are functional if not completely polished. HP might not have reached the Holy Grail of general datacentre automation just yet, but it's definitely on the right track.
Price$ 215,758.00 (AUD)
During the Big Dig, the city of Boston erected a sign saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day. If it was, we would have hired their contractor." That's a good way to describe the general state of affairs regarding the ideal of divorcing services from hardware and pushing server management away from the physical layer. HP's BladeSystem Matrix goes a long way toward realising this ideal of an automated datacentre, providing a wide array of very useful tools and functions, but falling just shy of the lofty goal of truly hands-free datacentre service deployment. Of course, nobody else has reached that particular goal either.
Although Matrix is newly packaged, it's not accurate to portray it as a completely new product. It's built on the foundation of HP Systems Insight Manager, with a heaping helping of associated services such as rapid-deployment software (HP's RDP), Microsoft Active Directory, server virtualisation (VMware, XenServer, or Microsoft Hyper-V), and hardware in the form of the HP BladeSystem c-Class blade chassis and HP StorageWorks EVA Fibre Channel storage framework. At the centre of all these moving parts sits the new piece: HP Insight Orchestration.
It's probably best to think of Insight Orchestration as, well, an orchestra conductor, weaving a multitude of players into a coherent symphony. The sheet music for this particular piece is based on templates created via a drag-and-drop, Flash-based interface, and reference everything needed to build a single server or a group of physical or virtual servers, including all network and storage links. With the possible exception of Scalent's Virtual Operating Environment, nothing is as close to defining the automated or adaptive datacenter as HP's Insight Orchestration.
From the ground up
It all starts with the hardware. HP's Matrix product is built from existing HP hardware offerings, including the EVA4400 and BladeSystem c7000 blade chassis. In the mix are the usual Fibre Channel SAN fabric switches and Ethernet switches. However, the two network switches really don't play into the overall picture. This is possible due to the 10G Ethernet modules and the 8Gb Fibre Channel links present in the chassis. Essentially, each chassis has all the bandwidth it needs with these links, releasing administrators and the Insight Orchestration software from the onus of having to interact at the layer-2 level to provide VLAN assignments and such.
The hardware in my test lab consisted of two c-Class chassis with a total of five blades, two EVA 4400 SAN arrays, two 8Gb Fibre Channel switches, and an HP ProCurve 5406zl switch with four 10G links and a few Gigabit Ethernet links. This was the core of the Matrix solution. On the side were a few ProLiant DL 360 G5s running Microsoft Active Directory, the HP ProLiant Essentials Rapid Deployment Pack (RDP) server, and the HP Insight suite, including the Insight Orchestration software. All this hardware was separated into two racks, each roughly half full.
The set up and initial configuration of the Matrix product is not for the faint of heart. You must know your way around all the products quite well and be able to provide an adequate framework for the Matrix layer to function. Fortunately, HP currently sells the Matrix fully assembled only, and when the racks arrive, an HP integration tech comes along to get the solution up and running, provide some training, and do basic integration with an existing infrastructure.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Intel projects decline in chip prices, and AMD's Ryzen is one reason
- Google Cloud growth is outpacing the company's ad business
- Hands on with the unusual Acer Predator Triton 700 gaming laptop
- Acer's Aspire GX comes out of nowhere to be the first prebuilt Ryzen PC from a major vendor
- Hands on the Acer's Swift 5, a competitor to Microsoft's Surface Pro
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCIT SAS Visual Analytics DeveloperVIC
- FTSAP ABAP Technical specialistACT
- FTFirewall EngineerNSW
- CCData Warehouse SpecialistQLD
- CCBusiness Analyst - PegaNSW
- FTDesktop Support/ Field Services EngineerQLD
- TPSolution ArchitectQLD
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTSystem AnalystSA
- CCA/V OfficerNSW
- CCSenior Network Security EngineerNSW
- CCTechnical ConsutlantACT
- FTStorage Engineer l HDSNSW
- FTTechnical SpecialistACT
- FTPERMANENT Business AnalystsSA
- FTSenior Information Security SpecialistQLD
- FTFrontend DeveloperNSW
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystSA
- FTLevel 3 Systems EngineerNSW
- FTData Analyst - Tableau and Power BI suiteNSW
- TPPHP Developer - Immediate startQLD
- TPSAP Supply Lead - MM/LogisticsQLD
- FTProject Manager (Cyber Security) - Permanent - IT Services - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTSecurity Solutions Manager - Perth BasedNSW