One of greatest things about the evolution of the server industry is the (attempt at) engineering out mistakes. You can only go so far to remove the human element in systems administration, but HP’s doing a really good job with the latest release of their Gen8 server line.
The three features I like the most are the CPU Smart Socket Guide, the Do Not Remove light, and the iPDU system (Intelligent power distribution unit – iPDU).
The CPU Smart Socket guide was co-developed with Intel to remove the too common mishap of bending pins on the motherboard when installing a CPU. Here’s a picture of the CPU in the cradle.
The Do Not Remove light comes into effect when disks in a RAID set fail and removing the wrong drive from the server (as you can have many RAID sets) will result in data loss. You can see the indicator in all of it’s glorious action below.
The iPDU kit works best as a combination of 3 pieces – the special power supply in the server, the special iPDU and Insight Control. The whole system working together accurately measures power utilization, maps servers (Gen8 w/ Platinum power supplies) to PDU ports and verifies redundancy. No more outages because you accidentally plugged both power supplies into the same PDU.
Removing human error from the datacenter, especially the large datacenter, will cut down on outages, data loss, unnecessary parts replacements and hair loss. Well, maybe not hair loss (but we can hope).
The old saying is that ‘you can’t fix stupid’. Well, HP hasn’t exactly done that, but they’ve certainly put up bigger warning signs so you’d have to be stupid on purpose.