HPE BladeSystem c7000 is a complex piece of engineering.
- I appreciate its simplified interface that gives the administrator the power to build a complete processing infrastructure remotely.
- I like the on-board administrator as it gave me a very detailed set of information that allowed me to manage every aspect of the infrastructure remotely.
- It allowed me to centralize the iLO remote access to every blade in the cabinet with very good performance.
You can view a Bladesystem like a modern car. The first thing you see is the body and the glossy paint, but under the hood, a bladesystem is essentially a group of servers (multi-core processors, RAM, Buses, storage, etc ), with redundant variable speed cooling blowers, redundant power suppliers, a large set of redundant connectivity options, and a big quantity of temperature and power consumption sensors, all of those connected and administered from a redundant administration module with many configuration parameters that you can accommodate in a bunch of ways to satisfy many different requirements.
Everyone of this modules are an appliance (a complete computer itself), and you can have a duplicate of the OA and the VC, just for redundancy and high availability purposes.
Before this brief description, probably you would agree that this is a complex architecture.
But the most attractive part of that , is that you deal with this complexity through a web portal that concentrate all of the configurations options, easy this tasks and guide the user with several wizards.
To manage all the parameters related to the Enclosure or Chassis, security access, and monitoring, you have to enter to the "onboard administrator module" (OA).
To manage all the aspect about LAN or SAN connectivity to the server blades you have to jump into the "virtual connect Module" (VC), but don't desperate, you have an hyperlink from the OA, that open the VC portal, to give you a seamless navigation between modules.
At last, but not least, you have the blades servers itself. You can have up to sixteen of those servers, with processors, memory, Out of Band management processor (Insight Lights-Out or iLO) and I/O cards (NICs, HBAs, CNAs, etc)
All of those have several Firmware (BIOS, NIC firmware, Power Regulator Firmware, HBA Firmware, iLO Firmware, Onboard Administrator Firmware, Virtual Connect Firmware, etc ) and you need to solve incompatibility issues between all of those.
The best part is that HPE give you an utility (HP Smart Update manager) that can manage all those firmware in a consolidated way.
HPE works hard to provide a centralized administration and good experience with the software, and if you are an advanced user, also can use an add-on to access all the configuration parameters using powershell (the administrator's task programming language that come in every windows operating system).