Cloud infrastructure customers can get all their computing resources in one place – computing, storage, and networking. It's one of the biggest ultimate benefits virtualization has brought. One of the most popular software tools designed to give enterprise IT managers similar capabilities for infrastructure in their own data centers is HPE OneView.
Underneath is a technology that collapses management and configuration of servers (be they virtual machines or bare metal), containers, storage, and networking devices. That technology is called “hyperconverged infrastructure,” and HPE is one of the leaders in the category. (Other top players are Nutanix, VMware, Dell EMC, and Cisco.)
HPE is also about tied with Dell for the biggest share of the server market, and an HPE infrastructure management platform like OneView is a logical choice for companies that run HPE hardware in their data centers.
That includes HPE ProLiant servers and HPE Synergy composable infrastructure, which creates flexible pools of compute, storage, and networking resources. All HPE Synergy customers use OneView, as does a "decent share" of ProLiant customers, Frances Guida, who oversees HPE’s compute software portfolio, including OneView, told DCK.
Data center operators do have some alternatives, though.
According to Gartner, competing hyperconverged infrastructure vendors are actively marketing their ability to run their software on HPE ProLiant servers. HPE's hypervisor partners, Microsoft and VMware, both offer solutions that work not just on HPE hardware but on a broad range of competing server platforms.
HPE OneView Customer Feedback
Last year, the Enterprise Strategy Group surveyed HPE customers about their use of OneView.
Their biggest reason for adoption was wanting to overcome growing complexity in their IT environment, followed by improving operational efficiency, and reducing manual provisioning of resources.
After adopting OneView, 100 percent of organizations reported that the tool did, in fact, help them overcome complexity. In addition, 98 percent said the technology positively impacted their ability to manage IT resources, and 98 percent said it helped them automate formerly manual provisioning processes.
There were other benefits as well. For example, 79 percent said they saw a reduction in the time needed to satisfy developers' infrastructure requests, 68 percent said it reduced problem-resolution time, 65 percent said it eliminated errors, 64 percent said it freed up staff, and 57 percent said that using OneView enabled faster service provisioning.
Respondents said the average time savings added up to 28 person hours per week, and provisioning times fell by an average of 40 percent.
The time savings were put to good use. According to ESG, 75 percent of organizations were at varying stages of digital transformation initiatives. Deploying OneView gave them 17 percent more time on average to dedicate to new projects instead of simply managing their existing systems and services.
"When we were working on OneView, we talked to dozens of users and identified that they were challenged by lots of manual tasks that they had to do," Guida told us.
"There are also lots of complex handoffs between server administrators and storage administrators," she added. "All of that led to lower productivity, which affected business performance."
HPE OneView first reached the market in 2013, and now has between 1.5 and 2 million licenses, she said.
And while it’s primarily aimed at managing HPE equipment – with a little bit of management for other vendors' products, such as Cisco’s – there are advantages to using it instead of a multi-vendor third-party product.
Third-party tools typically manage only servers, only storage devices, or only networking devices, Guida said. "There aren't tools out there that help customers, in an automatic fashion, connect all those pieces of infrastructure together."
OneView has integrations and APIs to help connect it to other management platforms.
Several partners have built connectors. For example, there is a OneView connector for Schneider Electric's data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software system. OneView can also connect to network security tools and SIEM platforms.
"There are a couple of other interesting integrations," Guida added. "We have deep integration with Microsoft systems and VMware vCenter server management software. A vCenter admin can very easily trigger firmware updates into the VMware environment. That's one of our newest enhancements, which we added last fall."
HPE also partners with Morpheus Data, which helps companies manage public and private clouds.
"They have built direct integrations into our API, so if you need to add more physical infrastructure you can add that directly from your Morpheus Data console," she said. "That is resonating extremely well with our customers."
This integration was first rolled out about a year and a half ago, and "they spent 2020 making it more robust."
This past year, HPE has been working to make it easier and faster to upgrade to the latest versions of OneView. There were half a dozen releases, each one reducing the time it takes to upgrade. Today, the process is 80 percent faster than before, said Guida.
"We're now able to do updates in half an hour to an hour. It fits very readily within a customer's maintenance window."
After news of the SolarWinds breach broke, HPE reviewed its own process.
"After that came out, we paid very close attention to exactly how our build systems are connected to the internet," she said. "With SolarWinds, their build system was compromised. We went back and did all the due diligence on our build systems to ensure that, to the best of our knowledge, there's no way they can be tampered with from the outside."
Having OneView in place helped data center operators adjust to the pandemic environment, Guida said.
"First of all, most OneView systems will come bundled with a license for our remote management console through the baseboard management controller," she said. "Every time a customer needs to log in they can log into the management console and are already credentialed in."
HPE also offers OneView remote support, a service that's been available since 2016.
"There are high hundreds of thousands of devices doing this," she said. "They are transmitting alerts back to HPE. If there's a power supply that's bad, or a fan that's bad, or a memory that's bad, it will automatically generate a case at HPE and, depending on warranty levels, we’ll ship replacement parts or dispatch a technician."
How to Get HPE OneView
HPE OneView is a separate product but comes bundled in with the HPE Synergy system.
"For all other products, it's a separate license," said Guida.
Customers who have or are considering HPE infrastructure need to talk to their sales reps to make sure that OneView is included in their order, she added.
HPE OneView is delivered as a virtual machine appliance, each one capable of supporting hundreds of servers.