The time is now to automate!

With written contribution by Andrew Wahl

 

If you’re one of the countless IT professionals who manage servers and databases, you know what it’s like to spend a long, frustrating day just provisioning a server. It can be a daunting process, especially if you’re provisioning it manually, but even many automated toolsets require a lot of hands-on setup of PE servers and DHCPs.

 

For IT administrators who typically spend 70 percent of their time on repetitive, low value manual tasks and have to juggle 15 or 20 tools with thousands of scripts, OS provisioning needs to be a straightforward process. Goodness knows they have enough other troubleshooting to do. Click here to hear what customers who have attended HP Discover 2013 at Barcelona are saying.

 

 

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3 things you need to know about Server Automation 

HP Server Automation provides most of the components you need for an easier experience provisioning servers. For example, Server Automation can by default point to a LinuxPE or WinPE, and it also ships with DHCP so you can use an internal protocol or external. Here is how straightforward it is to provision a server with HP Server Automation:

 

A.   Identifying a Virtual Machine (VM)

The HP Server Automation UI offers a simple menu system to view All Managed Servers and Unprovisioned Servers. If the specified type of unprovisioned server is not listed, start up vSphere Client to select a VM that has already been created and network boot it from within the console to make it available to HP Server Automation. The VM now appears in the list of unprovisioned servers.

 

B.   Stage an OS Build Plans

Provisioning the selected VM begins by right-clicking and choosing “Run an OS Build Plan” from the drop-down menu.

 

OS Build Plans are a flexible, easy way to layer on an OS, additional drivers and any other software that is required as part of the whole provisioning process. An extensive library of content is available out of the box with Server Automation and can be further customized as necessary with template-based configuration.

 

Build plans are specific to an OS (for example, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server X86_64 install), and let you sequence multiple object types, including packages, scripts, zipfiles, OS objects (registry, users/groups). For example, one partial list of provisioning steps include:

  • Wait for SA Agents (OGFS Script)
  • Set media Source (Python Script)
  • Configure Red Hat Default ks.cfg
  • Inject Required Kickstart Settings (OGFS Script)
  • Inject Required Personalization Settings (OGFS Script)
  • Create stub partition (Unix Script)
  • Copy boot media (Unix Script)

 

C.   Running an OS build plan

With the OS Build Plan, provisioning becomes a quick 3-step process:

  1. Search for and select the OS build plan
  2. Select the server on which it is to be provisioned
  3. Specify any additional job options, such as email notification of success or failure

 

And that’s it, Server Automation then takes over to complete the bare metal install. You can provision and begin conducting lifecycle management within just four hours—which gives you time to look after patching and maintaining servers. In fact, HP Server Automation Standard helps you do that too.

 

G67567062001_SmallJPG_300dpi_50pct.jpegLearn More

Watch a short video on how Server Automation provisioning works.

 

Then experience it for yourself -  HP Server Automation Standard (Virtual Appliance) is a single HP Server Automation (SA) core packaged as a virtual machine. Setup time is reduced to under an hour. Sign up for a free 30-day free trial here.

 

 

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