I‘m wrapping up a class this week that covers the HDS converged platforms. They call the product the “Unified Compute Platform”. It’s fun stuff. Ever since VMware became a thing for enterprise server virtualization, Hitachi’s been there, selling the Compute Blade line of servers along with the storage arrays. You always get the customers who say, “just put it all together for me”, and that makes for great (and profitable) professional services engagements. Sell them the servers, the storage, and the ethernet and fibre channel switches to connect the two together, and you get a great system.
Thing is, a lot of customers won’t pay for that gold-plated treatment. HDS Global Support Services folks are the best, but, like any good PS people, they don’t work cheap. So, what if you put all the components for such a system together in a rack or two, and set up an automated interface to deploy and control them? That’s a “converged” system. The Unified Compute Platform uses VMware’s vCenter, or Microsoft’s SCVMM as management frameworks for a low-touch interface that monitors the components and deploys operating systems onto the server blades.
The class this week was TCI2527,Managing and Monitoring Hitachi UCP 4000 and 4000E Systems with VMware vSphere. Yes, that’s a mouthful! The five-day class explains the concepts of a converged platform, presents the architecture of the UCP system, then covers how it works and how to use the management interface, UCP Director. We also discuss disaster recovery/business continuity options for UCP.
The students love classes like this, because they get to play in the sandbox. Fully half of the class time is dedicated to lab activities and what I like to call “open swim” time, where the students can experiment with various aspects of the racks. The audience for this class is a bit wider than the traditional storage training. A converged platform ties together a number of job responsibilities. You’ve got storage, networking, SAN/fiber channel, server management, and server virtualization. In some data centers, these jobs are done by one or two teams/groups, while others have full teams for each of these. Everyone needs to come together in this sort of environment, so we get folks from all roles in class. The storage guy might not be as good at VMware as the virtualization team, but he knows the storage arrays and how to use Hitachi Command Suite to configure/support them. The “network guy” knows the routers and the “Brocade guy” knows the SAN, but do they know how a blade server connects to their respective networks? UCP ties it together, we have good discussions in class, and everyone shares/learns. It’s fun.