During Interop, I’ve had the pleasure to discuss, in detail, HP’s ideas and plans for a “Single-Pane” management interface, coming from Les Stuart, Distinguished Architect.
It should come as no surprise, that HP is the *KING* of applications. Their product line is very diverse. Some would even say, “too excessive”, and each device has it’s own management application. Not only that, but there is also additional software to manage multiple applications/devices. From Proliant Servers (Insight Manager) to Procurves (Procurve Manager). And from storage networks (StorageWorks) to data networks (Network Node Manager and IMC), just to name only a few. Confusion comes from determining which application to use for what.
Now that HP has publicly addressed the need for a single architecture called FlexNetwork, they have a few hurdles to overcome, to say the least. But to Les Stuart, he sees opportunity, not challenges. His passion to bring everything together makes one believe that not only is it possible, but it’s already underway.
“There has already been significant investment in the developing of the current applications for our product line….. and they’re GOOD. Why re-invent the wheel? We would rather keep those existing platforms, and [roll-up] the data into a single-pane interface for the personnel to use, seeing only the parts that they need”, says Stuart. “[Drilling-down] to the device will simply open it’s respective application for details”.
However, it does not stop there. Stuart’s vision for the FlexNetwork is not just managing and monitoring. It includes provisioning. “We want our software to not only manage those devices, but add [automation] so that if an administrator wants to ‘spin-up’ a new server, we can assign the VLAN, build the firewall policies, carve out storage, and assign the network access-lists”, Stuart goes on.
Do you want integration into your already existing management system? No problem, says Stuart. Using existing standards and models like Netconf, Openflow, and Openstack, and following the FCAPS model, HP wants to make it easy to integrate into existing platforms. “It’s not just an application, but a framework to build upon.”
HP wants to give you the starting tools to do what you need. However, if you want to do more, you can.
HP will not be releasing a full-featured product like this anytime soon. However, you can expect to see a “link launcher” as Stuart calls it, sooner than later. A single point of access for all your HP tool needs. I, for one, will be watching closely to see how HP handles this. If it’s as good as Les Stuart is excited that it can be, it will be a fantastic and missing feature that admins are missing.