HP C3000 Blade Enclosure Onboard Administrator

A wide range of factors contribute to the cost of any IT Infrastructure solution. One of the hidden costs is the time it takes to identify and fix a fault and downtime or reduced performance that occurs during this process. I read recently that most outages are actually caused by the people whose job includes insuring uptime is maintained! Imagine for a minute the scenario where you are installing updates and accidently shutdown rather than restarting or a cooling fan fails in a server at a remote location. I’ll come back to these scenarios later.

The Onboard Administrator (OA) and Integrated Lights Out (iLO) technologies are two handy tools for administrators who need to keep systems running efficiently remotely. They provide remote management of all aspects of the C3000 or C7000 Enclosure and the Blades it houses. Both technologies can be accessed via a web interface, OA managing the enclosure itself and iLO managing individual blades.

OA allows complete configuration of the Blade Enclosure including presentation of the integrated DVD to specific blades, SNMP configuration, power management and configuration of various aspects of the enclosure.  Email alerts can be configured to provide awareness of hardware faults or issues e.g. failed cooling fans and power warnings. OA also provides information on the enclosure configuration via a graphic blade view and inventory feature showing part numbers and serial numbers of all devices within the enclosure including Blades.

iLO provides a remote console allowing remote access to Blades and the ability to access the ROM based setup, controller ROM setups and even install an Operating System. iLO also features virtual power buttons making it possible to power Blades off and on remotely. OA includes a wizard to setup multiple iLO devices within the enclosure reducing setup time. Access via SSH and SSL are supported. A license key must be purchased to access some of the advanced features.

Advanced diagnostic tools are a key feature of these technologies. iLO features the ability to review a video of the servers last boot and last reported fault. These features combined with part and serial numbers help accelerate the troubleshooting and warranty replacement processes.

Getting back to the issues above, iLO can be used to hit the power button remotely and bring an accidently shutdown server back to life. A failed cooling fan is the sort of thing that can cause havoc if it isn’t replaced is often not visible to the administrator, and email alert from OA and then a quick check via the web interface and a replacement part can be ordered without needing to go onsite.

OA is included in both C3000 and C7000 series Blade Enclosures. iLO technology is included in a range of HP Server including DL series rack mount servers and ML series tower servers.