Building the Best Team

I love football. I watch all levels, from my kid’s 3rd and 4th grader team all the way up to the NFL. The game to me is fascinating. Not just the game itself, but all of the hype and trappings. This time of year, the NFL is not playing or practicing. Instead, the teams are focused on building the best team for the upcoming year. What that means is they are looking to sign players to fill roster spots. Maybe even more importantly, pouring over all the data they can find for the upcoming draft class (starting on April 29th).  These teams interview, watch college game-film and run potential players through a series of drills to understand their athletic ability.

Like all of us, the NFL has had to tweak how they do all of this prep because of the current pandemic. In years past, the NFL would gather in Indianapolis, Indiana. They would send most, if not all, of the prospective draft players through the “scouting combine”. This was a time when the coaches and league personnel could all huddle together. They would watch how each player performed at the individual tasks they were given. (This always seemed weird to me, that they would judge players on a bunch of individual tasks. Especially, when these players were auditioning to play a very intricate team game, but that is a whole other blog entirely).


A Change in the Lineup

With the arrival and continued issues that COVID-19 has brought, the NFL has canceled this year’s combine and most of the in-person meetings. Instead, they will have to sift through, critique, and break down these players virtually. This is going to be a HUGE change for these organizations.

Some of the personnel have done things one way their whole career and they will now be asked to change and adapt.  Still, they need to make their analysis at a very high level. Sound familiar? Basically, the NFL front offices are now catching up to what we have all been doing for the last year! As has been the experience in the business world, the NFL will go through a few growing pains. In the end, they will find a way to make it work, and may even be better for it. Again, it will mirror what the rest of us have already been through.


Adapting to the New Workplace

A year ago, in April, most of us were at a point of worry, confusion, and fear. Would our jobs survive? Would I get sick? How is this going to affect my family? Will anything be the same again? A year later, we are still dealing with some of these questions. But, for the most part, we have adapted. We have learned how to work differently and interact in ways that were for some, completely foreign. Some of us have learned how to both work and teach, as our children have also been remote for some or all of the school year. Sure, as a society, we still are having our struggles, but slowly and surely we are finding a way.

In the IT industry, some of us went from working in and looking at our data centers on a daily basis, to now being physically in front of them only rarely. We have learned the power of remote tools. In the past, it may have only been a feature that was ignored. We have also learned (or maybe re-learned) that change in where and how we work has stressed our already overtaxed security policies. Many of our customers have come to understand that security is not just the forest (overarching security strategy). It is the trees as well (basic building blocks of the security strategy).


Server Security

One of the security features we have been championing with our customers lately is server security. So much has been made of the network or the individual end-user devices, it is often forgotten just how important the server can be. A good example of some industry-leading server security is what Hewlett Packard Enterprise has done with their GEN10 model. Here is a quick snapshot of what HPE incorporates into every one of their current server line:

  • HPE builds all of its servers. Therefore, they have complete control over the custom HPE silicon and HPE iLO firmware at the heart of our Silicon Root of Trust. This extends to ensuring the integrity and provenance of the firmware in every component, including those items sourced from partners
  • Gen10 silicon root of trust: Makes sure that a server never boots up if its firmware has been compromised or tampered with in any way
  • Gen10 intrusion detection: A physical connection from the chassis board and hood enables detection of any physical intrusion into the chassis
  • Gen10 run-time detection: It checks the integrity of the firmware at boot time. In addition, iLO also has the ability to scan the firmware on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
  • Server System Restore: Provides the option to restore the firmware to a last known good state. Or, in the event of a compromise, automatically loads its own authenticated firmware from an integrated backup. In addition, allows restoration of OS and applications.


Security is Priority One

As you can see, HPE has focused very succinctly on the product that is in each one of their servers, being known, trusted, and secure. Then, they offer several options for you the user to combat security intrusions as they happen. They handle things like Ransom attacks with excellent restore capabilities. While most server manufactures do their best to focus on security, we have found that some features on the list above only HPE will do. To me, it is also impressive that a company would work so hard to ensure the safety of a product that is theoretically already behind several other security layers. They understand that security is the job of every hardware component that is onsite.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and do business. Ultimately, we need to ensure we are changing the way we view our IT infrastructure as well. Attention to detail and vigilance will be a responsibility for everyone and everything that comes in contact with your infrastructure. Even though we have been adjusting for over a year, corporations like the NFL can show us that continued adjustment and adaptation are still going strong. HPE and all our partners continue to also change and improve their IT game!

Contact Zunesis to learn more about protecting your servers.

AMD EPYC Processors

I have been getting a lot of questions recently about AMD and if it should be used in the data center.  The short answer is YES.  Since AMD announced the EPYC processors, they have been gaining market share in the data center. Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently announced the industry’s broadest portfolio of AMD EPYC™ processor-based solutions to power everything from the edge to exascale supercomputers.  They have been breaking performance records running AMD on the HPE Cray Supercomputers.

AMD EPYC Series Processors help propel your modern data center workloads with leadership performance and advanced security features.  AMD has announced the 3rd generation of the EPYC processor. It sets the performance bar to new heights.  Built on the Zen 3 core and the AMD Infinity Architecture, the AMD EPYC 7003 series provides the best performance, highest I/O, and integrated security.  The video below shows the announcement for the new AMD EPYC generation 3 processors.


Hewett Packard Enterprise AMD EPYC Processor Portfolio

The current Hewlett Packard Enterprise product portfolio is built on the AMD EPYC generation 2 processor which features the 7002 series processors.  The 7002 is based on Zen 2 core, which delivers optimized performance-per-watt, large L3 cache for low latency access to data. These processors support up to 64 cores per socket, 128 threads, 4TB of DDR4 memory capacity across 8 memory channels, and 128 lanes of PCIe® 4.0 connectivity to reduce bottlenecks.

Based on the AMD Infinity architecture, the 2nd Gen AMD EPYC Processors are the first server processors featuring a 7nm hybrid multi-die design and PCIe Gen4 I/O. The AMD EPYC Family continues to offer the most I/O and memory bandwidth in its class.


Security Features

AMD EPYC processors boast a set of advanced security features, called AMD Infinity Guard.  This includes the AMD secure processor, Secure Memory Encryption (SME), and Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV).  These features help minimize potential attack surfaces as software is booted, executed, and processes your critical data.

With Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV), AMD EPYC processors help safeguard privacy and integrity by encrypting each virtual machine. This aids in protecting your data’s confidentiality even if a malicious virtual machine finds a way into your virtual machine’s memory or a compromised hypervisor reaches into a guest virtual machine.

The HPE Server portfolio ranges from the low-end DL325 Gen10 Plus 1U server up to the HPE Cray EX supercomputer.  There are 1 socket and 2 socket general-purpose server options, scalable building block options, high-performance computing options, and options built for AI and Deep Learning.   Find out more about the HPE server product line with AMD EPYC processors here. 


New Products

HPE will be announcing new products based on AMD EPYC Gen3 processors in mid-April 2021.  More information will be available as it gets closer to the announcement date.  According to the HPE Press release dated March 15, 2021, HPE has secured 19 world records in key areas for optimizing workload experiences. This includes achieving leadership positions in virtualization, energy efficiency, database analytic workloads, and Java applications. To date, HPE servers and systems using 2nd and 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processors combined to hold a total of 32 world records.

After the announcement, the full portfolio of HPE servers and systems supporting the new 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processor will include the following:

  • HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 Plus v2 server
  • HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10 Plus v2 server
  • HPE ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus server
  • HPE ProLiant DL365 Gen10 Plus server
  • HPE Apollo 2000 Gen10 Plus system with the HPE ProLiant XL225n Gen10 Plus server
  • HPE Apollo 6500 Gen10 Plus system with the HPE ProLiant XL675d Gen10 Plus server
  • HPE Apollo 6500 Gen10 Plus system with the HPE ProLiant XL645d Gen10 Plus server
  • HPE Cray EX supercomputer EX425
  • HPE Cray EX supercomputer EX235n



All new HPE Apollo systems with the 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processor will be available worldwide on April 6. All new HPE ProLiant servers with the 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processor will be available worldwide on April 19. Contact Zunesis, if you would like to learn more about these processors.







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