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Windows Server 2003 on HP ProLiant Servers : Introduction to ProLiant Servers (part 3) - Storage Options

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ProLiant Reliability and Advanced Memory Features

ProLiant servers have a reputation for quality and reliability. The advanced features found in ProLiant are designed to provide a higher level of performance and reliability to live up to their reputation. Common server components are designed and built to stricter specifications and testing. In many cases, they incorporate advanced technologies developed through continued research and development.


HP ProLiant memory provides the highest quality for higher reliability. Memory integrity is paramount for highly available fault-tolerant systems. The ever-increasing demand for faster memory in higher-capacity modules at decreasing voltage calls for a strict and thorough memory evaluation and qualification process.

ProLiant memory has an indisputable reputation for quality and reliability. HP's continuing commitment to ProLiant memory quality, fault tolerance, and error-correction technologies began at Compaq with the first ProLiant and has been ongoing with the development of patented memory error-correction technologies. Today, the commitment continues with ProLiant AMP (Advanced Memory Protection) technologies.

Advanced Memory Protection (AMP) technologies

ProLiant servers currently offer three levels of AMP that provide increasing levels of fault tolerance: Online Spare Memory, Hot Plug Mirrored Memory, and Hot Plug RAID Memory. RAID, in this case, stands for Redundant Array of Industry-standard DIMMs (Dual Inline Memory Module). These AMP technologies are available across the ProLiant platform; all AMP technologies support ProLiant industry-standard DIMMs, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. HP's servers feature one or more advanced memory technologies.

HP Provides the Highest Quality Memory

The two ways to protect against memory errors are testing and using error detection/correction technologies. The quality of the testing procedure depends on the source of the memory modules. HP is a leader in qualifying and testing memory components for Industry Standard Servers and backs its procedures with an innovative prefailure warranty. HP has long established its leadership in memory error detection/correction technology.

Superior Testing Improves Memory Reliability

As memory chips become faster and more complex, testing them becomes more difficult and expensive. Memory-device manufacturers invest heavily in testing systems, and they continually revamp their testing procedures to maintain device quality. Due to the constant changes in manufacturing processes, HP qualifies each memory module design and manufacturing process to minimize the occurrence of hard errors. In addition to the rigorous qualification of module manufacturers, HP further tests every memory module in the model of server that will be installed. This process includes testing each manufacturer's modules on every model of ProLiant servers currently shipping and requalifying every module manufacturer each time HP offers a new processor speed or a new server platform. This testing and requalification process results in continuous improvement of memory-module reliability.

Three-Year Prefailure Warranty

The superior qualification and testing procedures allow HP to offer a three-year prefailure warranty on HP ProLiant memory. The HP Prefailure Warranty replaces any HP DIMM that exceeds predefined limits for correctable errors. These errors are recorded by the server and can be verified through SIM or diagnostics.

Price and Value

Although HP ProLiant memory is sometimes thought of as being more expensive than other memory modules, price is relative to the value of the product. Avoiding system downtime or data loss caused by memory failure and the financial impact such situations cause far outweigh the momentary benefit of paying less for the initial purchase of memory.


The use of third-party memory in a ProLiant server might seem like a reasonable way to save money at the initial purchase or for an upgrade, but when considering the cost of downtime, loss of warranty support, and the difficult-to-diagnose problems caused by inferior memory, this is an unnecessary risk. Almost daily, the ProLiant call center resolves a customer's problem by removing third-party memory from a ProLiant. Don't be the victim of blind cost cutting; performance, fault tolerance, and reliability are valid specifications for any IT purchase.

Single Supplier Convenience
HP offers features and options with full support for HP ProLiant systems and verifies that all components and options work together, ensuring the quality of all HP products from their initial release to their end of life.

Storage Options

ProLiant Server storage options are designed or specified by HP engineering, optimized and tested for performance, reliability, and full compatibility. You can visit the HP Web site and review the QuickSpecs for each ProLiant server to find its supported storage options.

HP Universal Hard Disk Drives

HP Universal Hot Plug hard drives provide compatibility between any Ultra 320-, Ultra3-, or Ultra2-capable ProLiant servers and StorageWorks drive enclosures and arrays. The benefits of storage interchangeability include reduced cost of ownership, reduced storage complexity, and a minimized hard drive spares inventory.

All HP hard drives are engineered to provide the highest possible performance and quality. HP drives undergo an intense qualification process that eliminates data-integrity problems, firmware and O/S incompatibilities, and other causes of data corruption or premature failure. All drive firmware is specific to HP drives and is designed to maximize both functionality and compatibility. All drives are proven to perform in the HP systems for which they were designed.

When used in conjunction with a SMART array controller and SIM, the Smart-capable firmware in HP hard drives enables extensive fault-prediction capabilities. If potential problems develop in one of the drives, the SMART array controller, Insight Manager, and/or Smart hard disk drive lets you know in advance so you can have the drive replaced, before it fails, under the HP Prefailure Warranty.


All drives are protected by a Prefailure Warranty when used with an HP SMART array controller and Insight Manager, allowing hard drives to be replaced before failure free of charge. In addition, all drives are covered by a one- to three-year limited on-site warranty, or the remaining warranty of the HP CPU in which it is installed (up to three years).

ProLiant SMART Array Controllers

SMART array controllers are one of ProLiant's most frequently purchased options, adding the benefits of high performance RAID storage fault tolerance. They are currently in their sixth generation to provide the highest performance with an advanced feature set.

ProLiant SMART Array Controller Naming Configuration

The naming scheme for the SMART array family is simple and illustrated in Figure 2. Mainstream array controllers have four numerals (SA-6402), whereas entry-level controllers have three numerals (SA-641). The first numeral refers to the product family or generation among the SMART array family of products. The second numeral refers to the protocol (2=Ultra2, 3=Ultra3, 4=U320). The third numeral is used for differentiation. For example, with the SA-5312, the third numeral indicates that this is a different controller than the other SA-53XX controllers. The SA-5312 is a PCI-X controller, whereas other 5300 series controllers are PCI. The fourth numeral indicates the number of SCSI channels on the controller. For example, the SA-5302 has two SCSI channels. Additional numerals can be used to indicate cache size; for example, SA-5302/32 indicates 32MB of cache.

Figure 2. SMART array controller naming configuration.

SMART Array Controller Advanced Technologies

The SMART array fifth and sixth generation controllers offer support for RAID ADG (Advanced Data Guarding). RAID ADG is available as an upgrade option for fifth generation controllers. A minimum of 64MB of on-board controller cache is required to enable RAID ADG. With this patented HP technology, you can safely deploy large-capacity disk drives and create large storage volumes. RAID ADG also offers lower implementation costs and greater usable capacity per U than RAID 1. Its only limitation is slightly lower performance than other RAID levels. RAID ADG

  • It can tolerate two simultaneous drive failures without downtime or data loss

  • It can safely protect an array up to 56 total drives

  • It is ideal for applications requiring large logical drives

  • It has greater fault tolerance than RAID 1+0 or RAID 5

  • It has a lower implementation cost than RAID 1+0

  • It supports Online Spare Drives

  • It supports Online RAID Level Migration from RAID 1+0 and 5

ProLiant Management Processors

HP ProLiant management processors provide hardware-based virtual server presence independent of the OS, which enables remote management of the server over the network. This addresses challenges that IT Administrators face today in managing a more complex IT environment. Attended, in-front-of-the-server operations have become expensive and time-consuming. ProLiant servers offer a virtual presence across the entire line with iLO, RILOE II, and the IA for BL-e enclosures. Some common problems that are addressed by HP ProLiant management processors include the following:

  • Servers located at different physical locations while IT groups are centralized; diagnose-before-dispatch enabled by a virtual presence

  • Limited IT staff versus increasing number of deployed servers

  • Standard configuration/deployment/management across all servers

  • Importance of scalability for configuration and maintenance to improve the overall efficiency of IT operations

  • Preferred security policy of access and authorization to IT resources via directory services

  • Importance of timely responses to server issues and accessibility

  • Cost of rack-based monitors, keyboards, plus CD-ROM and diskette drives in every server

  • Increasing cabling complexity due to increasing server density

  • Increasing concern for security of servers located in remote sites and data centers

  • Increased security risk due to removable media devices

Integrated Lights-Out (iLO)

iLO, the newest generation of HP's Lights-Out technology, is integrated into selected ProLiant servers. iLO consists of an intelligent processor and firmware that provides standard and advanced levels of Lights-Out functionality.

Two Versions of iLO

Basic system board management functions, diagnostics, and essential Lights-Out functionality are provided as standard components of ProLiant servers with iLO functionality. The standard features of iLO are referred to as iLO Standard. Advanced functionality of the HP iLO, referred to as iLO Advanced, can be licensed with the optional ProLiant Essentials Integrated Lights-Out Standard Pack. iLO Advanced offers sophisticated virtual administration features for full control of servers in dynamic data center and remote locations.

The key iLO Standard features include the following:

  • Browser interface: Easy access, configuration, and setup in Linux and Windows environments.

  • Virtual power: Enables full remote control of the server power button.

  • Remote text console: Enables OS-independent, text-based console to display and control remote host server activities such as shutdown and startup.

  • Virtual serial port: Enables iLO console access to management applications configured for serial port use, such as Windows Server 2003 Emergency Management Services.

  • SSL encryption: All HTTP data transmitted between iLO processors and client browsers is secure.

  • iLO and server diagnostics: Detailed status, logs, and alert forwarding of iLO and server.

  • Group administration: You can administer user accounts, network and global settings, and activate the iLO Advanced Pack license keys on large groups of iLO processors simultaneously.

The key iLO Advanced features are

  • USB-based Virtual Media: Enables booting a remote server using a standard 1.44MB diskette or CD on a client machine, or an image of the floppy from anywhere on the client's network.

  • Virtual Graphical Remote Console: Allows a standard browser to function as a virtual desktop, giving the user full control over the display, keyboard, and mouse of the host server.

  • Directory services integration: Enables the use of directory services, such as Microsoft Active Directory and Novell eDirectory, to authorize access by directory users to iLO processors with assigned roles.

  • Microsoft Terminal Services integration: Enables the optional use of high-performance Terminal Services as the default console when the OS is running.

Two of these features, USB-based Virtual Media and Virtual Graphical Remote Console, provide additional functions that deserve further explanation:

  • Virtual Graphical Remote Console: iLO provides embedded hardware Graphical Remote Console capabilities that can turn a supported browser into a virtual desktop, giving the user full control over the display, keyboard, and mouse of the host server. The OS-independent console supports graphic modes that display remote host server activities, such as shutdown and startup operations. It works with a standard browser and no additional software is required on the remote server or client system.

  • USB-based Virtual Media: The USB-based Virtual Media feature allows an IT Administrator to boot the remote server using a standard 1.44MB diskette on the client machine, a CD on the client machine, or an image of the floppy from anywhere on the client's network. After the remote server has booted a USB-capable OS (for example, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, or Red Hat Linux 7.2), the virtual floppy or CD is available as if it were a local USB device. The Virtual Media features save time and increase efficiency by eliminating the need to visit the remote server. This enables the following functions remotely: Run HP User Diagnostics, apply ROMPaq upgrades, deploy an OS on remote servers from Virtual CD network drives, perform disaster recovery of failed OSs, and install applications on the remote server from a Virtual CD.

The ProLiant BL-p class blade systems ship from the factory with the iLO Advanced features enabled, allowing Administrators full use of the robust Graphical Remote Console and Virtual Media capabilities.

Remote Insight Lights-Out Edition II (RILOE II)

The RILOE II PCI card is optional for ML and DL ProLiant servers. As the second generation of RILOE, it provides significantly faster graphical remote console performance, and a breakthrough Virtual Media, Virtual Floppy, or CD that improves virtual presence and control. The RILOE II offers a similar, but enhanced, feature set when compared to iLO, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Comparing RILOE II and iLO
ProcessorPowerPC 200MHz32-bit RISC 66MHz
Graphical Remote ConsoleYes, significantly fasterYes (Advanced Feature)
Virtual Floppy Drive (requires pushing of image into on-board RAM)YesYes (Advanced Feature)
Virtual Media USB Floppy and CDYesYes (Advanced Feature)
Virtual Power ButtonYesYes
New Tab-based UIYesYes
Dedicated 10/100Mbps Ethernet LinkYesYes
Internal ConnectorYes, 30-pin for newer servers, 16-pin for older serversNo (integrated)
AC AdapterYesNo
SSL EncryptionYesYes
128-bit encryption for remote consoleYesYes
Pocket PC AccessYesNo
Event Log, Integrated Management Log (IML), and Status ReportingYesYes
Customizable User AccountsYes, 25 usersYes, 12 users
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