HP BladeSystem Matrix

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As with the rest of the HP Insight tools, the Web-based interface is snappy and responsive, but like most Web UIs, it doesn't drive as smoothly as a fat app. The menus and navigation can be Byzantine at times, but that's to be expected for a product this complex.

For the moment, HP's Matrix solution will find a home in larger infrastructures that are looking to streamline the build processes for their server and application stacks. As with most new and complex technologies, these shops will round off the edges and press HP to improve the overall product. As time passes, the price will hopefully drop, the integration will hopefully get tighter, and suddenly, it will be a reality for smaller shops. Every journey begins with a single step, and HP has clearly taken several. The destination is coming into view.

HP BladeSystem Matrix

Cost: $215,758 for one rack, completely built and functional, with 15 BL495c blades, EVA 4400 array with 8 drives; $377,562 for two such enclosures, 31 total blades.

Platforms: Supports Microsoft Windows, HP-UX, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Suse Linux Enterprise Server, Oracle Enterprise Linux, and Solaris operating systems and VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, and Integrity VM hypervisors. Supports all half- and full-height HP ProLiant and HP Integrity server blades.

Bottom Line: HP BladeSystem Matrix incorporates a wide array of moving parts and ties them together well. It's still a significantly complex solution, but part of the purchase price includes integration. The hardware is impressive, and the management tools are functional if not completely polished. HP might not have reached the Holy Grail of general datacenter automation just yet, but it's definitely on the right track.

Paul Venezia is senior contributing editor of the InfoWorld Test Center and writes The Deep End blog.

This story, "HP BladeSystem Matrix" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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