Understanding the Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager

Understanding the Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager Technology brief Introduction ......................................................................
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Understanding the Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager Technology brief Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 2 VCEM architecture and integration in the BladeSystem infrastructure .......................................................... 2 Managing with VCEM.......................................................................................................................... 3 Management interfaces .................................................................................................................... 4 VCEM GUI .................................................................................................................................. 4 VCEM CLI.................................................................................................................................... 5 Other management tools ............................................................................................................... 5 VCEM role-based domain management .............................................................................................. 6 VCEM management integration ......................................................................................................... 6 VCEM and Matrix OE ................................................................................................................... 8 Configuration and deployment .............................................................................................................. 8 Discovery ........................................................................................................................................ 8 Setup Wizard .................................................................................................................................. 8 VC domain groups ........................................................................................................................... 8 Server profile failover ......................................................................................................................... 10 VC domain maintenance .................................................................................................................... 10 VCEM solution use cases .................................................................................................................... 10 Moving server profiles .................................................................................................................... 11 Propagating changes to existing VC domains within a VC domain group ............................................. 13 Provisioning bare metal enclosures ................................................................................................... 15 VCEM Licensing ................................................................................................................................ 16 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................ 16 For more information .......................................................................................................................... 18

Introduction HP management for Converged Infrastructure gives you a centralized management solution for HP BladeSystem enclosures, for an entire data center, or for multiple datacenters1. Virtual Connect (VC) and Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager (VCEM) are essential parts of HP Converged Infrastructure. VCEM centralizes connection management and workload mobility for HP BladeSystem servers that use VC to access LANs, SANs, and converged network infrastructure. VCEM eliminates the risk of address conflicts by maintaining an address database for more efficient administration of data and storage network assignments (MAC and WWN). Using VCEM, you can add, change, move, and automatically failover servers and their workloads across the data center in minutes without affecting production networks. This technology brief describes what VCEM does in the data center. It gives you an overview of the VCEM architecture and details the interaction among VCEM, Virtual Connect Manager (VCM), iLO, and BladeSystem Onboard Administrator modules. It explains VCEM management capabilities, integration, and scalability within data center infrastructures. In this technology brief, we assume that you have some familiarity with HP BladeSystem infrastructure. For more in-depth information on the technologies involved, see the HP BladeSystem technical resources page at http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/blades/components/c-class-tech-installing.html.

VCEM architecture and integration in the BladeSystem infrastructure HP Virtual Connect is hardware abstraction technology that lets you configure and connect physical and virtual servers. Through its ability to virtualize BladeSystem server connections to external networks, VC lets you add, move, and change servers inside BladeSystem domains without affecting access to LAN and SAN within the domain. We’ve converged networks using VC Flex-10 technology to replace multiple lower bandwidth physical NIC ports, and using VC FlexFabric to implement LAN/SAN convergence technology. VC FlexFabric broadens VC Flex-10 technology to provide solutions for converging these different network protocols. You can use VCM to change, move, or redeploy any server within a single VC domain. VCM is embedded firmware on the VC Ethernet Module and the VC FlexFabric Module. VCEM extends the VC architecture to large multi-domain environments. You can use VCEM to change, move, or redeploy any server within the VC domains that VCEM controls. VCEM is a plug-in for HP Systems Insight Manager (HP SIM) and benefits from the rich feature set offered by HP SIM. These features include centralized authentication, enclosure discovery, and security. VCEM acts as an external manager for VCM and uses it to communicate with the HP Onboard Administrators in BladeSystem enclosures. We’ve designed Onboard Administrator modules and firmware for both local and remote administration of HP BladeSystem c-Class. Each c7000 enclosure ships with a single Onboard Administrator module. If desired, you can order a second redundant Onboard Administrator module for each enclosure. When two Onboard Administrator modules are present in a c7000 enclosure, they work in an active−standby mode, assuring full redundancy of the c7000's integrated management.

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For more on this, see “HP Matrix Operating Environment Federated CMS Overview, HP Matrix OE infrastructure orchestration 7.0” at http://h20195.www2.hp.com/v2/GetPDF.aspx/4AA3-4721ENW.pdf

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Figure 1 shows the BladeSystem management structure. iLO resides within each BladeSystem server, and the Onboard Administrator in each enclosure is the central control point for an enclosure. Onboard Administrator controls configuration, power, administrative control, iLO blade management processors, network switches (depending on the models of switches used), and storage components (such as SAN or SATA).

Figure 1: This is the VCEM management structure showing the integration with iLO, Onboard Administrator, VCM, and BladeSystem servers.

VCEM provides a central console to administer up to 128K LAN and 128K SAN addresses from a central pool. Using VCEM, you can rapidly configure, deploy, move, and failover server connections and their workloads for up to 250 VC domains (up to 1,000 BladeSystem enclosures and 16,000 servers when used with VC Ethernet enclosure stacking). You use VCEM to build VC domain groups―that is, groups of VC domains with common Ethernet and Fibre Channel interconnects, and with uplinks to the same LANs and SANs. All domains belong to a domain group. VCEM enforces hardware and network consistency across each domain group as your infrastructure grows. It simplifies adding new enclosures. We recommend using VCEM to get the maximum ease of deployment of Virtual Connect with bare metal enclosures. VCEM depends on VCM to communicate with the Onboard Administrator.

Managing with VCEM VCEM provides unique capabilities to manage MAC and WWN addresses, domain configuration and deployment, server profiles, and automated failover. VCEM aggregates network connection management and workload mobility for hundreds of VC domains and thousands of blade servers into a single console.

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VCEM performs the following management functions for BladeSystem servers that use VC:  Centralizes connectivity and workload management  Improves infrastructure consistency through a common configuration to deploy and manage VC domain groups  Simplifies server migration from test to production Organizations with multiple VC domains can use VCEM to complete tasks like these across the data center more quickly, consistently and reliably:  Add new VC domains, blade servers, and BladeSystem enclosures  Modify multiple VC domains configurations  Perform planned systems maintenance with minimal downtime by using VCEM domain maintenance capabilities  Migrate and repurpose servers within or across different VC domains to quickly address changing workload requirements

Management interfaces You can access VCEM though a browser-based GUI or through the VCEM CLI to configure and deploy server profiles, networks, and SAN connections in the VC environment.

VCEM GUI VCEM consolidates network connection management and workload mobility for VC domains and server blades into the single console shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: This is the VCEM home page.

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Through the dedicated home page, you can access the majority of VCEM operations, including the following core tasks:  Discover and import existing VC domains without system downtime  Aggregate individual VC addresses for LAN and SAN connectivity into a centrally administered VCEM address database  Create VC domain groups  Add and remove VC domains within VC domain groups  Define server profiles and link to available LAN and SAN network resources  Assign server profiles to enclosure bays  Move server profiles between VC domains or domain groups  Change, move, or automatically failover server profiles to spare servers  Install bare-metal HP BladeSystem enclosures by assigning them to a VC domain group

VCEM CLI The VCEM Command Line Interface is a family of executable commands that activate the most frequently used management operations for the VCEM infrastructure. VCEM CLI is especially useful for executing repetitive functions such as those shown in the “Propagating changes to existing VC domains within a VC domain group” use case cited later in this document. Installing VCEM on the central management server host also installs the VCEM CLI. You can execute VCEM CLI from the Windows command line or from batch files (cmd.exe), and other available utilities. You can use the VCEM CLI as an alternate method for managing common VC operations. The VCEM.CMD executable provides failover management. VCEM 6.3 introduced VCEMCLI.exe, which is useful for scripting bulk operations on multiple VC server profiles. You can perform some repetitive VC management tasks more efficiently with the VCEM CLI than with the VCEM GUI. You can use VCEM CLI to assemble a library of scripts to create common profile types. If your environment always assigns a particular set of network and storage connections for a specific class of servers, you can capture the settings in a script and run the script when you need a new server profile. Here are some scripting examples: • Script and VCEM CLI operations: – Use VCEM CLI to put the domain into maintenance. – Use an SSH client to drive the VCM CLI. – Use VCEM CLI to cancel or complete maintenance on the domain. • Script Virtual Connect Support Utility (VCSU, which allows users to remotely upgrade VC module firmware) and VCEM CLI operations: – Use VCEM CLI to put the domain into maintenance. – Script VCSU commands. – Use VCEM CLI to cancel or complete maintenance on the domain. • Script reassignment of server profiles in response to changing workloads or environment.

Other management tools Other HP and third party tools are available to monitor your c-Class environment. SNMP allows you to monitor network-attached devices in the VC domain. The SNMP agent software resides in VCM on the primary VC module as well as on any other VC Converged Networking, Ethernet, and Fibre Channel module in the domain. SNMP also makes telemetry information available for further troubleshooting. You can use an appropriate SNMP tool to map all network information. You can use VCEM SDK to go beyond the features of the VCEM CLI and work directly with the VCEM APIs.

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VCEM role-based domain management VCEM includes several levels of role-based administration to control management access and operations. Rolebased management allows you to control user and administrator access by assigning administrator accounts roles ranging from complete authority over the environment to limited access to certain areas. Figure 3 shows the VCEM command hierarchy and Table 1 defines the roles.

Figure 3: This is the command hierarchy in role-based VCEM management.

Table 1: Access and management responsibility for VCEM domain management roles Role

Access

Management responsibility

VCEM Administrator

Full read-write access to all VCEM operations

Create and edit domain groups, domain, server profile, operations

Domain Group Administrator

Full read-write access to assigned groups only

Manage domain groups, domains, and server profiles in assigned domain group(s)

Domain group operator

Full server profiles read-write access to assigned groups only

Full profile operations in assigned domain group(s)

No domain level operations Domain group limited operator VCEM user

Partial server profiles read-write access to assigned groups only No domain level operations

Same level of permission as Domain group operator role except for creating, editing, or deleting server profiles

Read-only

Read-only access to VCEM data

VCEM management integration VCEM is tightly integrated with other HP infrastructure software to provide a comprehensive management tool set for BladeSystem with Virtual Connect. Figure 4 shows the HP integrated management stack. VCEM interacts with VCM,

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which in turn works with the Onboard Administrator and iLO for hardware management. VCEM can manage infrastructures from single and multi-enclosure VC domains ranging from medium-sized installations to large data center environments with hundreds of VC domains and thousands of servers. We have integrated HP Insight Control with HP SIM to provide a secure platform to centrally manage servers, storage, and other infrastructure devices across many operating system environments. HP SIM is the basis for health management in your IT environment. HP Matrix Operating Environment (Matrix OE) offers high-level tools for capacity planning and service deployment orchestration in both physical and logical servers.

Figure 4: VCEM Integrated Management is part of the HP management stack.

HP Insight Software integrated with VCEM provides a complete picture of the hardware. All the tools in the HP management stack work together:  VCEM – Centralize connection and workload management – Provide an address repository eliminating the risk of address conflicts

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– Change, move, and automatically failover servers and their workloads  HP Insight Control – Server lifecycle – HP SIM – Power management – VM management – Remote support  HP Matrix OE – Infrastructure design and orchestration – Capacity planning – Systems recovery

VCEM and Matrix OE HP Matrix OE is an integrated infrastructure management stack containing the tools needed to build and manage an infrastructure as a service. Matrix OE includes the essential server management delivered by HP Insight Control and VCEM. Matrix OE uses the VCEM and HP SIM ability to centralize connection management and workload mobility and to manage server health proactively. These capabilities support the key Matrix OE roles of provisioning and optimizing the infrastructure. A key capability that VC and VCEM bring to Matrix OE is the ability for the VC abstraction layer to enable Matrix OE logical servers. This gives physical servers the same kind of portability possible with virtual machines. For more information on VC and Matrix OE logical servers, see the “HP Matrix Operating Environment 7.0 Logical Server Management User Guide” at http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c03132774/c03132774.pdf.

Configuration and deployment Deploying new resources and changing existing configurations manually is time consuming and error prone. VCEM gives you overall domain status, domain-wide consistency, and target and source compatibility in failover events. Automated discovery simplifies infrastructure mapping. Setup wizards simplify initial setup and configuration.

Discovery You can use the HP SIM discovery capability to identify VC Ethernet modules, Onboard Administrators in enclosures that contain VC Ethernet modules, and VC domains.

Setup Wizard If you are installing VCEM as part of the HP Insight Management suite, you can access the Insight Managed System Setup Wizard after the discovery process. You can also run the Insight Managed System Setup Wizard as part of the HP Insight Management suite to set up systems, for example, to apply VCEM licenses to systems you want to manage. For more information about the wizard, see the “HP Insight Management 7.0 Installation and Configuration Guide.” You can find the guide at http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/management/unified/infolibraryis.html.

VC domain groups A VC domain group is a collection of domains with common Ethernet and Fibre Channel interconnects, and with uplinks to the same LANs and SANs. Establishing a VC domain group allows you to upgrade, replace, or move

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servers within their enclosures without changes to the external LAN/SAN environments. With VCEM, you can move and copy profiles within a single VC domain, among any VC domains, or among VC domain groups. VC domain grouping allows you to use a master configuration to deploy and maintain multiple VC domains that access the same networks. This increases infrastructure consistency and simplifies deploying new enclosures and domains, whether they are single-enclosure or multi-enclosure VC domains. The first VC domain added to a domain group establishes the master configuration that all other group members will use (Figure 5), including LAN and SAN connections.

Figure 5: VC domains use a master configuration for all group members.

When you import a VC domain into VCEM and manage it as part of a VC domain group, all server profiles associated with the VC domain become part of the VC domain group. Any unassigned server profiles created through VCEM also become part of the VC domain group. VCEM ensures consistent configuration across the enclosures within the domain group. Group-based management automatically applies the master configuration of the domain group to enclosures added to the group, so you can deploy new hardware quickly. From an IT operations perspective, group-based management saves time, reduces deployment costs, and greatly limits the potential for configuration errors. Groupbased management of multiple VC domains using master configurations increases infrastructure consistency, simplifies system deployment, and enables rapid change management across hundreds of HP BladeSystem enclosures.

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Server profile failover VCEM server profile failover is a fast-recovery tool that can help you minimize unplanned downtime. You can use VC server profile failover to perform rapid and cost-effective recovery of physical servers within the same VC domain group with minimal administrator intervention. When a failover event occurs, VCEM provides an automated method to restore availability levels. In contrast, manually moving a VC server profile requires four steps: 1. Power down the original or source server. 2. Select a new target server from the VC Domain Group spare pool. 3. Move the VC server profile to the target server. 4. Power up the new server. VCEM server profile failover combines these steps into a single operation. It activates automated movement of VC server profiles and associated network connections to user-defined spare servers in a VC domain group. You can manually initiate profile failover from the VCEM GUI as a one-button operation, or from the VCEM failover CLI. The failover CLI lets you script server profile moves within the same VC domain group. VC server profile failover operations require configuring the source and target servers to boot-from-SAN. You can use the VCEM failover CLI in conjunction with HP SIM automatic event handling to automatically trigger a VC server profile failover. You can also incorporate server profile failover into customized scripts so that you can build solutions that are even more powerful using VCEM as a trusted component. You have the option to rely on the automated failover operation upon receipt of an event, or you can take action regardless of whether the automated failover is active or just event notification. For more information on VCEM server profile failover operations, see “HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager Profile Failover and Profile Moves” at http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c03173921/c03173921.pdf

VC domain maintenance VC domain maintenance is a useful way to update a particular VC domain without removing it from a VC domain group. It also lets you apply common domain, network, and storage configuration changes automatically to all other VC domains within the same VC domain group. VCEM temporarily enables domain, network, and storage changes through the local VCM for the selected domain. Some of the useful domain-level operations available during VC domain maintenance include:  Upgrading firmware  Backing up VC Domain configuration  Administering local user accounts  Changing VC domain, networks or fabrics configuration During VC domain maintenance, you can perform network-level operations such as monitoring network ports and changing network configurations. Storage level operations enabled during VC domain maintenance include changing storage configuration and storage management credentials.

VCEM solution use cases Exploring a VCEM solution use case is a helpful way to illustrate how VCEM addresses the management challenges of data center infrastructures. The three use cases we present include moving server profiles to a different VC domain group, propagating changes in a VC domain group, and adding a new enclosure. These cases show how VCEM allows you to accomplish common management tasks efficiently within the VC environment.

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Moving server profiles You can move server profiles within the same VC domain group or to a different VC domain group. Using VCEM, you can quickly deploy, replace, and recover servers and their associated workloads by simply assigning or reassigning the VC server profile to a different enclosure bay. When you move a server profile, the associated MAC, WWN, boot-from-SAN parameters, and related workloads always move with the server profile. You can use the VCEM GUI to move server profiles to a user-defined spare server or any other candidate server. You can manually move a server profile within the same VC domain, to any other domain in the same VC domain group, or to a different VC domain group in any location. To manage server profile movement from VCEM, you must have at least group-limited operator privileges. To move a server profile from one VC domain group to another, access the profile move option (Figure 6) by selecting the server profile management option on the VCEM home page.

Figure 6: The VCEM “Server Profiles” tab gives you access to the profile move option.

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When moving server profiles, VCEM ensures that the server profiles are compatible with the target VC domain group, and then it moves the server profile without any change to its MAC/WWN addresses or LAN/SAN connections. The VCEM Move profile pre-validation takes place before you can move or export profiles. Profile pre-validation warns you of incompatibility between a server profile and the target VC domain group. It also warns about any necessary actions after the server profile has been exported. These steps validate feature compatibility between the server profile and the target VC domain group. They also check feature compatibility specific to network and fabric features. The VCEM Jobs page shown in Figure 7 informs you when a task is complete. When exporting an existing server profile to another VC domain group, you must use VCEM to avoid losing the server identity (server profile) and associated MAC and WWN addresses.

Figure 7: The VCEM Jobs page confirms completed tasks.

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Figure 8 illustrates a server profile movement operation from Domain Group A to Domain Group B using VCEM. VCEM manages domain configurations and server profile information during the move.

Figure 8: VCEM allows you to move server profiles within the domain group or to other groups.

Propagating changes to existing VC domains within a VC domain group Using a master configuration, you can deploy and maintain multiple VC domains that access the same networks within a VC domain group. This saves you time by increasing infrastructure consistency and simplifying replication of master configuration changes to single-enclosure or multi-enclosure VC domains. The following example explains how you can use VCEM’s VC domain maintenance mode to make changes to one VC domain and how VCEM replicates those changes throughout the VC domain group. In this example, the VC domain group includes 20 VC domains.

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The change in this use case is to define a new Ethernet network. To do it, you would first go to the maintenance page in the VCEM GUI (Figure 9) and enable VCEM domain maintenance for a single VC domain.

Figure 9: Activate the VCEM domain maintenance mode from this page.

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The Make Changes via VC Manager button in Figure 10 invokes the VCM login screen and then the home page. From there you would navigate to the “Define Ethernet Network” screen (Figure 10) and use this screen to add a network.

Figure 10: This is the screen in the VCM GUI for defining a new Ethernet network.

When you complete the network definition and exit the domain maintenance mode, VCEM will replicate your changes to all VC domains in the group. Without this VCEM functionality, you would need to use VCM to update each of the 20 VC domains individually.

Provisioning bare metal enclosures VCEM allows faster provisioning of bare metal enclosures (enclosures that are not associated with a configured VC domain). If bare metal enclosures contain the same VC modules and connections as existing VC domains in a VC domain group, you can provision the infrastructure more easily and quickly by propagating the group’s master configuration. That also increases infrastructure consistency and simplifies deploying new enclosures and domains.

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The following example explains how you can use VCEM to add new bare metal enclosures and take advantage of faster provisioning. To find the new enclosure, you can run the HP SIM discovery function. From the VCEM home page (Figure 11), you would click the VC Domains tab, select the newly discovered VC domain (the new enclosure), and then click the Add to VC Domain Group button.

Figure 11: The VC domains page allows you to add newly discovered bare metal enclosures.

If the newly discovered VC domain were in an unlicensed enclosure, you would be prompted to provide licensing information. VCEM then would replicate the master configuration of the group to the new VC domain. You could perform profile operations immediately. Without VCEM, you would need use the VCM GUI and manually define a unique HP WWN, MAC, and logical serial number range as well numerous other configuration items before any profile operations could begin.

VCEM Licensing Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager is licensed per BladeSystem c-Class enclosure, with separate options for BL c3000 and BL c7000 enclosures. A single VCEM license is required for each enclosure to be managed in both single and multi-enclosure domain configurations, and is valid for the life of the associated enclosure. For all available VCEM licenses, including Virtual Connect hardware and VCEM packaged options, see the “HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager 7.0 User Guide” at http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c03169041/c03169041.pdf

Conclusion HP VCEM simplifies management of multiple VC domain environments across the data center. HP VC and VCEM let you use a central administration console to add, replace, and recover blade servers and their workloads in minutes without affecting production networks. VCEM works through VCM and the Onboard Administrator to manage server and network configurations. Through HP SIM, you can use this data for management, health, and coordination of large numbers of servers in data center environments. VCEM is a plug-in to the Insight Software and part of the HP SIM portfolio. A centrally administered VCEM database coordinates assignments of MAC addresses and Worldwide names. This reduces management overhead

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and eliminates the risk of address conflicts. Device data provided by VCEM, as part of HP integrated management, provides information that Insight Control uses for data center-wide server health and monitoring. This flexible infrastructure also provides the foundation for logical server deployment and orchestration delivered with HP Matrix Operating Environment software.

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For more information Visit the URLs listed below if you need additional information. Resource description

Web address

HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager 7.0 User Guide

http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/management /unified/infolibraryis.html

HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager Command Line Interface Version 7.0 User Guide

http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/management /unified/infolibraryis.html

HP Insight Management VCEM Web Client SDK 7.0 User Guide HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager Profile Failover and Profile Moves

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Docum entIndex.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&contentType=SupportManual&pro dTypeId=18964&prodSeriesId=3601866&docIndexId=64179 http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c01469068.pdf

Efficiently managing Virtual Connect environments

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManu al/c03028646/c03028646.pdf

HP Virtual Connect for c-Class BladeSystem Version 3.51 User Guide

http://bizsupport1.austin.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportMa nual/c03128009/c03128009.pdf

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© Copyright 2012 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. TC1106782, May 2012