Private Cloud 35
First Look: HP Essential Tower and Essential Rack HA Smart Bundles for Hyper-V
Sean Deuby
November 19, 2013

In my previous post, I described the HP Smart Bundles for Hyper-V and gave a brief overview of each Smart Bundle. Today, let's get into more detail about the first two bundles, the Essential Tower Smart Bundle for Hyper-V and the Essential Rack HA Bundle for Hyper-V.

Essential Tower Smart Bundle for Hyper-V

The HP Essential Tower Smart Bundle for Hyper-V is an integrated build of HP hardware and management software, and Microsoft operating system and virtualization software. It's targeted at small businesses that want to combine several physical servers into one Hyper-V host server by converting them to virtual machines (VMs) on that host.

The HP hardware infrastructure consists of a ProLiant ML350e Gen8 server with 16GB of DDR3-1333 memory. The server uses 6 450GB 6G SAS 15K RPM drives as direct attached storage (DAS), and for its network connection has a 1Gb 361i Ethernet adapter with 2 ports per controller. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Standard provides both the operating system and virtualization platform (Hyper-V); the Standard edition provides licensing for up to two VMs. Note that the hardware is capable of supporting 4 to 8 VMs (depending on the VM's requirements) but to license these additional VMs requires an upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition. Also note that this solution does not provide fault tolerance or high availability; if you need this you should look at the Essential Rack HA Bundle for Hyper-V.

HP Insight Control provides server deployment, monitoring, control, and power management for the Smart Bundle.

Essential Rack HA Bundle for Hyper-V

The HP Essential Rack HA Bundle for Hyper-V takes the next step in virtualization by adding high availability features. A second ProLiant ML350e Gen8 server is added to the bundle, and an HP P2000 G3 MSA (modular smart array) storage array is also added. This array comes with 12x300GB 10K RPM SAS drives installed, for a total of 3.6 TB of storage (unconfigured), and it has dual controllers to guard against a single controller failure. It is capable of taking 64 snapshots, and volume copy is enabled for increased data protection. This direct-attached array provides storage, shared between the two servers, which allows the creation of a two-node Windows failover cluster. Using this cluster, VMs can be moved from one host to another with Hyper-V Live Migration, thus providing uninterrupted service from the VMs when maintenance must be performed on one host.

You can extend the HP Essential Rack HA Bundle for Hyper-V with a 2920-24G network switch. This is a rack-mountable, 20-port Gigabit Ethernet manageable switch--a critical part of your local network when you have a high availability cluster. Note that though this bundle is a rack-mounted solution, it doesn't include a rack.