HP Adds to Converged Infrastructure Lineup

HP
(NYSE:HPQ) has rolled out the next phase in its converged infrastructure strategy with new
products unveiled at its HP Discover conference this week.

This
strategy and products enable greater agility for customers, an area that
C-level executives say is an important contributor to the success of businesses
today, according to an HP survey. And much of that agility is driven by
technology.

The
new products announced include the X9000 storage system, the Vertica Analytics
System for increased business intelligence, VirtualSystem, AppSystems, and new
storage services.

HP’s
converged infrastructure has been focused on innovation so far, and even though
that is still a core message behind the company’s announcements on the first
day of HP Discover, the new products are really aimed at making business
customers more agile, said Jan Zadak, executive vice president of enterprise
sales and marketing at HP, during day one’s press conference. He tied the new
product announcements into HP’s converged infrastructure message, as well as
with the instant-on enterprise strategy that HP announced in November.

New
storage solutions

HP
has been touting market changes towards the convergence of servers, storage and
networking for the last couple of years, and according to Dave Donatelli,
executive vice president of enterprise servers, storage, networking and
technology services at HP, the market is showing numerous signs that HP’s predictions
were correct.

With
an eye towards converging infrastructure instead of constructing it in silos,
HP is now ready to move into the next phase of its converged infrastructure
rollout.

“Storage
for years is one of those that was built in a silo, built typically with
non-standard hardware and proprietary software,” Donatelli said. That’s
changing with new systems and storage from HP, he said.

HP
has made several changes to its storage portfolio over the last two years, and
it’s adding a few products to that portfolio that will continue to push forward
its converged infrastructure strategy.

The
HP X9000 IBRIX Storage System is a scale-out NAS designed to scale up to 16PB
and more than 1,000 nodes. Managed through a single node, the X9000 was
designed to be simple to manage, yet also be highly scalable to support the
massive amounts of data businesses have to contend with, said David Scott,
general manager and senior vice president of HP Storage, the newly-rebranded
storage business unit.

Also
announced is the HP X5000 G2 Network Storage System, a product developed
jointly with Microsoft and aimed at mid-size businesses. Designed with
Microsoft-centric environments in mind, the X5000 is meant to simplify storage
management while reducing power requirements (and costs) and improving
performance.

HP
also introduced the latest generation of its Enterprise Virtual Array product.
The HP P6000 EVA  is the fifth generation
of the product, and according to Donatelli, customers have been asking when HP
was going to release a new version of it.

The
latest EVA product was designed to optimize costs and performance, Scott said.
He mentioned an Edison Group report that stated the P6000 EVA is up to 30 percent
faster to administer than products from competitors EMC and NetApp (a common
theme throughout the press conference, actually).

New
systems products

HP
unveiled new systems portfolios that are built on a common infrastructure to
make it as easy as possible for customers and channel partners to deploy the
products in the field.

The
new AppSystems portfolio includes a set of products that have been optimized
for application areas like business intelligence, real-time analytics, data
management and collaboration.

“Today,
one of the top issues that customers are facing is giving more business
intelligence and insight to their end-users. And that’s why we’ve focused the
initial entry of our AppSystems primarily on business intelligence and
information management,” said Paul Miller, vice president of HP ESSN alliances
and solutions.

Data
is getting bigger, and having a “one size fits all” model doesn’t work for customers
any more. With data continuing to grow at a speedy rate (and there are only
indications the growth rate will continue to accelerate), the AppSystems
portfolio is designed to help businesses manage and control both their
structured and unstructured data, as well as to get greater insight into the
data they collect.

The
AppSystems portfolio includes the HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance and the
HP Database Consolidation Solution optimized for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2,
but the crown jewel of the portfolio is the HP Vertica Analytics System, which
came about as a result of HP’s recent acquisition of Vertica. The Vertica
product enables real-time data analysis so customers can get detailed analytics
from vast amounts of data quickly.

It
provides business analytics in minutes, said Paul Miller, vice president of HP
ESSN alliances and solutions. The Vertica product was designed from the ground
up for real-time analytics and can handle up to 1PB of data in a single rack.
It can handle queries as data is loaded, and it can query uncoded data without
having to decompress the data, which Miller said is a change from other
business analytics products.

According
to Colin Mahony, vice president of product management at Vertica, HP will be
working with a broad set of channel partners to bring the Vertica appliance to
market. It was designed to be an easy-to-deploy solution that doesn’t require a
lot of pre-configuration or post-configuration work on the part of the partner.

“Our
whole push is on time to value,” Mahony said.

POD
data centers go green

Another
big announcement from HP was in the area of POD data centers. HP isn’t new to
the POD arena, but its new HP POD 240a (otherwise known as the EcoPOD) takes a
green IT approach that is meant to reduce power and cooling costs to a fraction
of traditional data centers, said Mark Potter, senior vice president and
general manager of HP industry-standard servers and software.

HP
can fit 4,400 into the 900-square-foot EcoPOD for approximately $8.3 million
(for a tier three data center) versus $33 million for a traditional data
center. Designed to be energy efficient, the EcoPOD data center’s annual energy
costs are about $55,200, which Potter compared to the average (according to IDC
data) of $1.54 million for traditional data centers. The significantly reduced
energy costs is in large part because of its energy efficiency, which reduces
energy consumption to the point where very little energy is wasted, he said.

The
EcoPOD addresses a looming data center capacity crisis, Potter explained.
Required capacity is expected to double over the next few years, and there will
also be government regulations coming into effect that will limit the power
consumption of data centers, he said.

“We
need to think differently about how we solve that crisis,” Potter said. HP’s
answer is the EcoPOD.

Another
key selling point for the EcoPOD is its low deployment time – three months
instead of two years for traditional brick-and-mortar data centers, he said.

“The
new EcoPOD is the world’s most efficient data center. It can be deployed 88 percent faster
at a quarter of the cost,” Potter said.

Generally
available in North America in the fourth quarter of 2011, the EcoPOD offers an
opportunity for channel partners to sell the POD and the data center
infrastructure, as well as to sell integration services around it, he said.

“[Channel
partners] play an important role. Our VARs participate in this just like they
participate in our server design, etc.,” Potter said.

HP
is putting a lot of emphasis on POD data centers, and it’s betting this newer
way of deploying data center is the future.

“I
just think it’s a foundational technology,” Potter said.

 

 

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