We’ve been an HP Shop for years and I very frequently sing their praises. HP servers are equipped (possibly over equipped) with sensors and redundant components. That’s valuable for our organization not because of a 24/7 uptime requirement, but rather a limited administrative staff and budget. We don’t have n+1 for every server, so having the extra security of better-than-white-box servers is comforting. We also don’t get to frequently replace our hardware. In 2004, we had a major technology refresh which allowed us to change from Compaq ProLiant 800s to DL360/DL380 G3 servers. Since then, we had a few purchases each year – 2-3 G4, ~15 G5, 3 G6, 8 G7 and now finally a fairly substantial refresh and expansion resulting in 14 G8 servers.
I was intrigued at the option for HP Intelligent Provisioning, a new option (F10) during the boot process. Upon viewing the ever tedious marketing page over at HP.com I decided to give it a whirl, rather than install from Windows Deployment Services.
I was immediately impressed. Intelligent Provisioning is essentially “Smart Start” + “Firmware Update” (Later HP SUM) built onto the board. The system will connect to the internet and download the latest firmware, install connect to a network share where your ISO for the OS is installed, download and install then install latest driver packs from HP.com. All in all, it’s pretty smooth!