HP Project Voyager Expands Server Control

by Sean Kerner

HP is launching a massive new effort to help control a new generation of servers.

HP is launching a new generation of server technology that is about more than just the underlying Intel chipset. Today, HP is unveiling Project Voyager, which is part of a multiyear $300 million plus investment to help redefine server economics.

Project Voyager is being baked into HP Gen8 server platforms later this year, although HP is now talking about the underlying innovations in the platform.

"Project Voyager is about how we redefine the expectations and economics of data centers," Jeff Carlat director, software marketing, Industry Standard Servers and Software at HP, told InternetNews.com.

Among the key new benefits in the HP Gen8 servers that come from Project Voyager are new Integrated Lifecyle Provisioning capabilities. Carlat noted that with the Gen8 server, HP is embedding more telemetry into the server.

"We're soldering on a NAND flash onto the Gen8 motherboard servers, and we're using it as a location to store all the deployment information," Carlat said. "We're wrapping that into a better way of provisioning servers."

HP is also advancing server control with a new Gen8 server feature called Active Health. With Active Health, HP's iLo (integrated lights out) remote management technology will be able to track more than 1,600 different parameters on a server. Carlat explained that the system will be polling for changes as well as storing those changes over time in the onboard NAND flash.

"It provides us with much better telemetry into what is happening on a server over time," Carlat said.

Going a step further, HP's Project Voyager is delivering an innovation for HP Gen8 servers called, 'Smart Update.' The basic idea behind smart update is about enabling administrators to update servers faster. The system provides access to one-click updates as well as the ability to stage updates across groups of servers.

Looking beyond just monitoring, Project Voyager has a set of capabilities HP is referring to as Dynamic Workload Acceleration. In that category, the Gen8 servers will include new three drive mirroring capabilities that will provide improved resilience over two drive mirroring scenarios. The system also includes something called Smart Data Services that provide new caching data algorithms to help speed up storage.

Monitoring servers in a data center has much to do with heat generation. That's another area in which Project Voyager aims to deliver innovation for the Gen8 server platform. The new thermal discovery capability provides 64 discrete temperature sensors on a Gen8 server. In addition, HP has a Project Voyager feature called location discovery, which is about helping server admins understand where the heat is being generated in a rack. By understanding where heat is generated, a data center can pro-actively deploy and manage cooling resources as required.

Project Voyager is all about enabling the new Gen8 series of servers from HP. The other key component HP is not talking about just yet is the actual CPUs that will power the Gen8 platform. Intel is currently prepping for its next-generation Ivy Bridge chip release that is expected to debut in April.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on Monday Feb 13th 2012
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