HP introduced the world to their OneView management appliance by comparing it to Cisco UCS Manager through a series of YouTube video attacks this past fall. I can almost hear the meetings… ‘Forget stealth, forget the high road – let’s attack the leader in converged systems management directly – let’s attack Cisco UCS Manager!‘ While we can’t help but respect HP’s gumption in attempting to pick on their #1 competitor, our flattery turned to dismay that HP continues to miss the boat on how UCS management truly works. Rather than respond with feigned outrage, we patiently waited for HP to release OneView for our own test drive.

What we found is that HP OneView continues a pattern that we see with legacy-inspired, top-down software managers. There is no ability for policies to adapt to changing configurations or server types. No ability for profiles to cross server generations or even to create policies for rack servers. No ability to truly create templates and resource pools for automated assignment. It is visually appealing, but remains a licensed software stack working hard to try and correct the limitations of an aging platform.

UCS was developed around UCS Manager as the centralized nervous system to automate server provisioning through flexible and secure policy-based management. UCS model-based architecture is embedded in the fabric, allowing users to define policies for their applications – not for the hardware itself. It is not software sitting on an appliance that ‘fires and forgets’ scripted commands down to waiting end points. UCS Manager provides extreme flexibility to respond to business needs because there aren’t restrictions on the policies – any profile can be applied to any blade or rack server type or generation, regardless of configuration. It is the foundation for stateless computing, where infrastructure is configured on demand for any workload.

Cisco compares a handful of key management features to HP OneView in the following short videos:

  • Video 1: Managing Role-Based Access (RBAC), looking at granular access control and multi-tenancy.
  • Video 2: Managing Profiles – ability to adapt profiles to configuration changes or generations.
  • Video 3: Firmware Management – FW policy creation and distribution for blade and rack servers.
  • Video 4: Profile Automation and Templates – Templates, resource pool creation and automation.
  • Video 5: Stateless Migrations and Upgrades – Adapting to any generation, type or configuration.

Video 1: Enterprise Role-Based Access & Multi-Tenancy

Video 2: Managing Profiles Across Server Types and Generations

Video 3: FW Management, Policy and Deployment

Video 4: Profile Automation, Templates and Resource Pools

Video 5: Stateless Migrations and Upgrades – Policy Adaptation

With nearly 30,000 unique UCS customers around the world experiencing Unified Management, Cisco has revolutionized systems management with UCS Manager. Cisco embraces competition from HP in converged management and looks forward to continuing innovation and leadership.

Cisco UCS Communities: http://communities.cisco.com/ucs

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Kevin Egan

Director, Compute Systems Group

Cisco’s Data Center Business Group