I've deployed many HP ProLiant servers; ML, DL and BL class servers in many environments. The new HP Gen8 systems come with an on-board feature called Intelligent Provisioning which makes it amazingly easy and efficient for deploying new systems in your environment. This feature replaces the old HP Smart Start and Firmware DVDs (downloadable images). I utilized this new feature yesterday on a BL460c Gen8 blade server to deploy Windows Server 2008 R2 for an Oracle application.
The process was very easy! When you boot the system, you press F10 to enter the Intelligent Provisioning feature. The system will the walk you through a deployment wizard for installing your OS onto the server.
Press F10 when the server boots
After pressing F10, the Intelligent Provisioning feature will prompt you with two options:Configure and Install or Perform Maintenance. This is very similar to the Smart Start DVD that was used for deploying HP servers or performing maintenance tasks in the past. It's all integrated now!
Two Options: Configure & Install or Perform Maintenance
You can use this feature to deploy various operating systems including Windows Server, various flavors of Linux (Red Hat, SuSE) and VMware ESXi. During the deployment process the system (after providing the system with a TCP/IP configuration) will download the latest firmware and driver updates from HP and deploy them directly onto the server. This eliminates you from having to download and run the Firmware Maintenance DVD and install the ProLiant Support Pack during post installation tasks as you may have done in the past.
When all was said and done, we were able to successfully deploy Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition to this blade server to host the Oracle application. It took less than an hour to perform this deployment task which included everything from deploying firmware, drivers and the operating system.
If you want to read more about the new Intelligent Provisioning feature, check out this link on HP's Website.