HPE Software Defined Infrastructure Solutions

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Check out this white paper that describes various best practices that should be adopted while selecting a composable infrastructure solution and is based on real reviews of HPE Synergy on IT Central Station. Learn more https://www.hpe.com/us/en/what-is/software-defined-infrastructure.html?altcid=sm_us-software-defined-infrastructure-lb

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BEST PRACTICES FOR CHOOSING A COMPOSABLE SOFTWARE-DEFINED INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTION PeerPaper Report Based on Real User Reviews of HPE Synergy 2020

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution ©2020 IT Central Station ABSTRACT IT departments now enjoy many new infrastructure options. These include converged and hyper-converged infrastructure which simplifes management and enables greater fexibility. Now with Software-Defned Infrastructure SDI or composable infrastructure solutions there are even more opportunities to save space and improve the efciency of infrastructure management. IT professionals are developing a growing set of best practice for choosing a composable infrastructure solution. This paper explores these practices based on real user reviews of HPE Synergy on IT Central Station.

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution ©2020 IT Central Station CONTENTS Page 1. Introduction Page 2. A Brief Overview of Software-Defned Composable Infrastructure Page 3. Overall Competitive Selection Factors Page 4. Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Infrastructure Solution Unify Infrastructure Management Tools and Interfaces Seek Solutions That Enable Ease of Use Future-Proof Infrastructure Push for Efciency and Fast Deployment Automate As Way to Make Fewer Errors Leverage Templates to Speed Up Deployments Use Software-Defned Aspects of the Solution Take Advantage of Infrastructure As Code via API Integrate Storage Management Go for Hybrid Cloud Compatibility Page 11. Conclusion

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 1 ©2020 IT Central Station INTRODUCTION Infrastructure is no longer just defned by hardware manual confguration processes and hardware-specifc management systems. IT departments have many options including converged and hyper-converged approaches to deploying compute storage and networking. However customers’ needs have evolved. They to seek to deploy an infrastructure that is fully fexible software-defned and automated to run any kind of workload. Such Software-Defned Infrastructure SDI which is increasingly referred to today as “Composable Infrastructure” has the potential to simplify management and enable greater fexibility. It can compose fuid pools of physical and virtual compute storage and fabric resources into any confguration for any workload. It can save on data center space and improve infrastructure efciency. As the technology matures IT professionals are developing a growing set of best practices for choosing a composable infrastructure solution. This paper explores these practices and insights based on real user reviews of HPE Synergy on IT Central Station.

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 2 ©2020 IT Central Station hybrid cloud environment. Composable infrastructure based on HPE Synergy allows organizations to manage their data centers as a dynamic fuid and fexible pool of resources. It’s a software- driven approach for organizations that want to leverage compute storage and networking capabilities on an as-needed basis. Software-defned composable infrastructure marks a split from the traditional hardware-defned manual modes of building IT infrastructure. Requiring neither wires nor pliers software-defned composable Infrastructure makes it possible for infrastructure managers to establish and then manage infrastructure using just software. This includes software-defned compute storage and networking. There are no hardware dependencies. Every infrastructure element is programmatically extensible. Advantages of the software-defned composable infrastructure approach include more productive infrastructure management processes as well as the ability to migrate between confgurations without downtime. HPE introduced a composable infrastructure solution HPE Synergy in 2016 to power workloads within a A Brief Overview of Software-Defned Composable Infrastructure

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 3 ©2020 IT Central Station IT Central Station members who manage infrastructure typically go through a careful analysis of competing solutions before choosing a critical technology like composable infrastructure. In their reviews they discussed how they weighed their options. For example an IT Director at a small fnancial services frm explained “We looked at Dell EMC VCE and HPE. We went with the newest technology which was composable infrastructure. The others were just hyper-converged infrastructure.” “If someone is looking at HPE Synergy c7000 or Cisco UCS Synergy is worth a shot because it provides a lot of fexibility and automation” said a Senior Infrastructure Engineer at a retailer with more than 1000 employees. “It can make the lives of operations team members or whoever is managing the hardware much better due to the automation. The biggest thing that I like about Synergy is the automation.” A VP Technology at a small tech services company put it like this: “We vetted out everything under the sun from the UCS side the Cisco side the Dell EMC side. We really landed on Synergy because it was the most fexible out of all the solutions. We have seen ROI . Building it to be so powerful we had six racks of 1 to 2U servers of Dell EMC equipment spread out throughout the data center - six racks of gear. We were able to condense down into four blades because they are so powerful. That’s a huge ROI and savings for us. We have fewer teams focusing on the overall solution. We have a team of two right now compared to the team of six or seven people assigned to the whole cloud solution in the past. From an operations perspective we’re probably saving a good 150000 a year.” Overall Competitive Selection Factors ‘‘ We were able to condense down into four blades because they are so powerful.

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 4 ©2020 IT Central Station Unify Infrastructure Management Tools and Interfaces Composable infrastructure thrives when users make the most of its unifed management toolset. A Manager at a fnancial services frm with more than 1000 employees commented on this capability saying “The Synergy environment provides us with one view. We’re able to manage the entire stack top to bottom from that single view.” A System Engineer at a comparably- sized manufacturing company noted “The most valuable feature of this solution is the ease of deploying servers profles and images. Having that single pane of glass is a good feature for the management of our environment.” Figure 1 compares composable infrastructure’s unifed management with that of conventional hardware- based infrastructure. A Services Support Supervisor at a government agency with over 5000 employees valued Synergy’s “ease of management and single pane of glass for everything.” He said “The single What makes a composable infrastructure solution suitable for an IT department Every company is diferent of course but common themes and best practices emerge from reviews on IT Central Station. These include a focus on unifying infrastructure management tools future- proofng of infrastructure automation and storage management integration. Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Infrastructure Solution ‘‘ The single pane of glass manage - ment is huge...

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 5 ©2020 IT Central Station pane of glass management is huge because in all our previous systems depending on what we were managing we would go to a diferent management point. Being able to go to one spot to get everything is helpful. I fnd that server profle creation is a lot easier in OneView than it was previously. We are able to stay compliant with frmware and updates because we are assigning server profles and reapplying them when there are changes. This makes everything a lot simpler.” Seek Solutions That Enable Ease of Use “Synergy is much easier to use which is saving us time” said a Network Specialist at a healthcare company with more than 1000 employees. This remark underscores the importance of ease of use and management when it comes to selecting a composable infrastructure solution. He added “We are able to set the profles for frmware upgrades. This makes the process for the care and feeding of the IT environment much simpler quicker and cleaner.” A Senior Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with over 500 employees shared “It makes it simpler for me to manage my environment. It is one pane of glass compared to multiple.” Other comments highlighting the importance of ease of use include: • “The biggest lesson I learned from using this solution is that it is a lot simpler than what I thought it was going to be like when we were going to deploy. I would rate Synergy as ten out ten because it’s easy to use rock-solid straightforward to deploy and easy to expand.” - CIO at a university with over 200 employees • “We have had very low infrastructure Figure 1 - Comparing management functions and the role of people in conventional vs. composable Infrastructure Conventional Hardware-Defned Infrastructure People Physically Set Up and Manage Infrastructure Automated Template-Based Setup and Management Virtual Resource Pool Software-Defned Infrastructure Composable Infrastructure Network Management Integrated Management Infrastructure-As-Code Storage Management Server Management App App Server Server Server Server App App Server Discrete Switches Hierarchical Network Logical Switch Flat Network Stor. Stor. Stor. Stor. Stor.

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 6 ©2020 IT Central Station requirements because of its simple setup . It has helped us dramatically improve our SLAs. The manageability is its most valuable feature. It is a fully managed platform which is very simple to manage. It lets us set up servers quickly” - SVP Data Technology at a marketing services frm with over 50 employees • “The most valuable features of this solution are the ease of management and the integration with OneView. The ease that we can allocate servers during busy times helps us to manage our IT landscape.” - Advisor System Administrator at a fnancial services frm with over 200 employees • “It’s very scalable. We like the idea that we can put four chassis in one of our racks and we can connect up to 25 chassis so the scalability to us and being able to sync all those into one management portal is unheard of. You can’t really sync that many blades and chassis together in any other platform.” - VP Technology at a tech services company with over 50 employees Future-Proof Infrastructure One advantage of composable infrastructure is its ability to prevent major disruptions in future infrastructure upgrades. A best practice therefore is to look for future-proofng capabilities in a composable infrastructure solution. For example according to a Senior Hardware Engineer “Synergy is frst in class for composable infrastructure . It has the scalability that meets our future needs and the automation that builds into something that we are really looking forward to using.” A Systems Engineer at a tech services company with more than 10000 employees remarked “We needed to upgrade our hardware to be compatible with newer versions of VMware. Since we are basically an HPE shop it was either newer blades for the c7000 chassis or a Synergy chassis. The Synergy chassis is the move of the future which is what mainly infuenced the purchase decision.” The government Services Support Supervisor said “The most valuable feature is the future proofng. As an agency we are looking at the future constantly and evolving with what is coming out. As we buy new equipment we are buying Synergy instead of continuing to buy c7000 blade enclosures and BL Series blades. Thus I don’t have to do a forklift upgrade in the future .” “We use this solution to run both our production and non-production environments. We currently do not have any cloud initiatives but we bought it so that we can be future protected for the cloud” said the manufacturing System Engineer. An Operational database administrator at a healthcare company with more than 1000 employees similar shared “We used a diferent solution previously but we switched because of the ease of management and in addition this solution is future proof .” Push for Efciency and Fast Deployment IT Central Station members recommend pushing for efciency and fast deployment in a composable infrastructure solution. As a CIO at a university with over 200 employees explained “When it comes to implementing new business requirements if they need more machines or the number of students increases in that particular discipline it’s very easy to replicate our current ‘‘ It has helped us dramatically improve our SLAs.

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 7 ©2020 IT Central Station machines. Getting things online and being able to provide those workstations is much faster. Once we have it up and running to deploy new virtual machines there is probably a 90 percent decrease in the time needed to get them up to speed.” “We have seen an improvement in the efciency of our IT infrastructure” observed the healthcare Network Specialist. “It is faster to do frmware upgrades through the deployment of new bladed servers. It makes our deployment time go faster decreasing the process time by half. The big time savings are on the upgrade process.” The fnancial services Manager added “I would say Synergy has decreased our deployment time by about 80 percent and it has reduced our cost of operations.” From the perspective of a System Engineer at a healthcare company with more than 1000 employees “Synergy also helps us implement new business requirements quickly. We can deploy new ESX servers faster than we could on the previous c-series blade systems. It has positively afected the efciency of our IT infrastructure team quite a bit in the last year. We spend less than a day deploying new hosts where it would take us a week previously. So our deployment time is about one-ffth of what it was.” Automate As Way to Make Fewer Errors The university CIO advised “Make sure you understand the whole solution.” He noted “If you’re used to doing things the old manual way make sure you understand what OneView does and how it can automate and orchestrate bringing the platform up to speed and then what happens after that. If you do that you’ll easily see that it’s a big time-saver and it’s much easier to manage.” The retail Senior Infrastructure Engineer concurred saying “There is no comparison between installing a server by hand versus having everything automated in place. That makes a big diference. By automating we can avert human errors. Life becomes easier and operations become much easier.” An Architect at a retailer with more than 10000 employees further commented “The automated updates and integration with OneView will ultimately help us run a more resilient infrastructure ” Leverage Templates to Speed Up Deployments Templates are one of composable infrastructure’s most appealing features. As a Senior Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with over 500 employees characterized them “Spinning up an environment is much quicker because I don’t have to reconfgure networking and redesign everything from the ground up. I throw a new blade into the frame and confgure it based of a template.” This mattered to him because “the solution has improved the efciency of our IT infrastructure teams by taking less time to set stuf up reducing our deployment time. The solution has positively afected the productivity of the development team by creating environments quickly.” Other IT Central Stations who weighed in on the value of templates shared the following observations: • “As a result of the solution our IT infrastructure is about 60 percent more efcient than it used to be. DR was a big issue for us. Also server provisioning especially with the approach of using server templates and profles speeds up ‘‘ ... the solution has improved the efciency of our IT infrastructure teams...

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 8 ©2020 IT Central Station the time to market for servers. That’s something that otherwise would probably take a couple of days to get done. Now it’s just a push of a button we’re talking about it taking seconds to a minute.” - Manager at a fnancial services frm with more than 1000 employees • “Today we’re using a stateless Auto Deploy which guarantees consistency across all of our ESX hosts but that is only possible if we’re using template-driven and standardized processes on the hardware. We can guarantee all of our network and our storage the frmware baselines - everything is exactly the same for every system that sits within a cluster. It has improved management of our IT landscape because we spend a lot less time dealing with inconsistencies and things like frmware and driver management.”- System Engineer at a healthcare company with more than 1000 employees • “We stick a blade in build a server profle from the template and it just goes.” - Senior Server Engineer at a tech services company with over 5000 employees • “Secondarily the temporal value of it. If I only need a particular amount of compute for a specifc period of time during business hours then at night I’m running a bunch of batch jobs or doing something else that ability to swap a profle swap templates and have compute assigned to something else saves signifcant amount of money. As long as you are tying it into the automation and orchestration layers it becomes much easier to do.” - Architect at a tech services company • “Synergy also streamlines the work that our infrastructure teams have to do. They confgure things once upfront and build deployment templates. That along with good documentation means any member of the team with very little training is able to deploy systems.” - IT Infrastructure Manager at a security frm with more than 1000 employees Figure 2 - How composable infrastructure with templates enables infrastructure managers to swap out system confgurations by using pre-existing templates - without stopping production operations Automated Template-Based Setup and Management New Confguration Needed Integrated Management Infrastructure-As-Code Virtual Resource Pool Server Server Server Virtual Resource Pool Server Server Server Stor. Stor. Stor. Virtual Resource Pool Server Server Server Stor. Stor. Stor. Stor. Stor. Stor. Select and Deploy a Preexisting Confguration Integrated Management Infrastructure-As-Code Confg Template App DB OS Confg Template App DB OS Confg Template App DB OS Confg Template App DB OS Confg Template App DB OS Confg Template App DB OS Confg Template App DB OS Confg Template App DB OS Swap Out Confgurations Without Stopping Production Operations Integrated Management Infrastructure-As-Code

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 9 ©2020 IT Central Station Use Software-Defned Aspects of the Solution It may sound obvious but it’s essential to use the software-defned aspects of composable infrastructure. Not everyone takes advantage. A Director at a tech company with more than 10000 employees ofered a number of insights into this practice. He said “Synergy has actually challenged us to rethink how our IT infrastructure teams are structured. So we’re still dealing with that. Our hope is that by having OneView Synergy and software-defned that we will realize the value statement over time.” As he explained “We bought in pretty early to the composability story and being able to software-defne the compute. We are realizing a fair amount of that. The biggest lesson learned is that if you really buy into software-defned and start moving to infrastructure as code there is a lot of power potential there if you can just stay the course.” Take Advantage of Infrastructure As Code via API Composable infrastructure turns infrastructure into code. A Cloud Architect at a manufacturing company with more than 1000 employees put this feature into context sharing that “The solution delivered efciency to our IT infrastructure team with the infrastructure as code and the ease and agility to deploy. We are still in the transformational phase but the beneft will defnitely be the infrastructure of code components. The initial setup is straightforward. The infrastructures as code enables you to fll out the confguration before you even deploy it then it is just a one-touch deployment.” The VP Technology further shared “When a new cluster would come in they would have to write the code for that cluster and it would take them a week or two just to put the right code together and deliver it to the customer. Now they’ve written it for the whole Synergy platform so we just slide a blade in and it comes online.” Integrate Storage Management The complexities of storage can sometimes lead infrastructure managers to neglect optimal storage integration. But storage is part of composable infrastructure. Integrating storage management into a composable infrastructure solution makes it easy. This benefts the infrastructure manager. “Storage-wise I don’t have to order more storage” said an Information Specialist at a government agency with over 5000 employees. “It is so modular that I can pick and add what I need.” A Service Manager at a fnancial services frm with more than 10000 employees remarked “It helps us manage our IT landscape because it is easy standard and very consolidated. You don’t need to have the storage and communications apart because it’s all consolidated.” For the IT Director at the fnancial services frm Synergy “has made our IT infra- structure teams more efcient. Previously we had a standard infrastructure which was compute power and storage. They had to run from one place to another to create a virtual machine. Now they can do everything in one shot.” ‘‘ It helps us manage our IT landscape because it is easy standard and very consolidated.

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 10 ©2020 IT Central Station Go for Hybrid Cloud Compatibility Many IT Central Station members are pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy or have it in the “not yet but soon” category. For this reason it’s a wise practice to select a composable infrastructure solution that supports hybrid cloud. As an IT Infrastructure Manager at a security frm with more than 1000 employees explained “In terms of a hybrid-cloud environment we use it for our database workloads. We have records management systems and dispatch systems which have critical databases which we run on these platforms.” According to a System Architect at a tech vendor “In a hybrid cloud environment the solution enables us to run lot of databases then diferent homegrown in-house developed stuf that we use for media servers and compression servers.” An Architect at a tech services company like reported “From a hybrid cloud perspective Synergies are more seen for the potential of integrating into orchestrated and automated deployments so they can have cloud-like functionality on-premise .” “The solution enables us to run VDI backups and web platforms for our organization in a hybrid cloud environment” said a Technical Consultant at a manufacturing company with more than 1000 employees. The government Information Specialist praised Synergy because “In a hybrid cloud environment the solution enables us to do SQL. We are able to move it up and take it down.” For the Cloud Architect “This product is basically a step in our transformation to be more hybrid .”

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 11 ©2020 IT Central Station CONCLUSION IT professionals continue to build on a growing set of best practices for selecting the best software- defned composable infrastructure solution. With competing composable infrastructure oferings on the market IT Central Station members recommend unifying infrastructure management tools and interfaces and seeking solutions that enable ease of use. Future-proofng infrastructure is a further requirement of the composable infrastructure selection process along with the push for infrastructure efciency and fast deployment. Automation fgures prominently into best practices as do templates. Ultimately selecting a composable infrastructure solution is about fnding and then leveraging the maximum value from the solution’s innate infrastructure-as-code capabilities.

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Best Practices for Choosing a Composable Software-Defned Infrastructure Solution 12 ©2020 IT Central Station ABOUT HPE Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the global edge-to-cloud Platform-as-a-Service company that helps organizations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from all of their data everywhere. We’re built on decades of reimagining the future through innovation. www.hpe.com ABOUT IT CENTRAL STATION User reviews candid discussions and more for enterprise technology professionals. The Internet has completely changed the way we make buying decisions. We now use ratings and review sites to see what other real users think before we buy electronics book a hotel visit a doctor or choose a restaurant. However in the world of enterprise technology most of the information online and in your inbox comes from vendors when what you really want is objective information from other users. IT Central Station provides technology professionals with a community platform to share information about enterprise solutions. IT Central Station is committed to ofering user-contributed information that is valuable objective and relevant. We validate all reviewers with a triple authentication process and protect your privacy by providing an environment where you can post anonymously and freely express your views. As a result the community becomes a valuable resource ensuring you get access to the right information and connect to the right people whenever you need it. www.itcentralstation.com IT Central Station does not endorse or recommend any products or services. The views and opinions of reviewers quoted in this document IT Central Station websites and IT Central Station materials do not refect the opinions of IT Central Station.

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