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LAS VEGAS – HP’s technology partners, including Brocade, Samsung, Stomasys, Emulex, VMware and Microsoft, used the technology giant’s HP Tech Forum 2010  to launch new initiatives and products. But Cisco was not there, illustrating the philosophical differences that have characterized the recent difficulties with the former HP partner and now data-center rival.

Paul Miller, HP’s vice president of alliances, Enterprise Business, told Channel Insider that his company is committed to open industry standards and collaborating with other vendors, while Cisco has a different view on what the next generation of the data center will look like.

“HP’s view is the converged infrastructure. This is a very different approach from the Cisco environment,” Miller said. “We think we have a better answer and we will continue to show Cisco that better answer.”

He added that HP will continue to support Cisco technology, where and when required. “Many customer environments are based on Cisco. If customers want that environment, we will continue to support that. We think we have a better solution with 3Com.”

Miller said HP is working closely with its hardware and software partners, communicating its converged infrastructure strategy, and helping them to succeed. Partners like Brocade, a member in good standing of the anti-Cisco liberation front, which announced a set of HP-branded Brocade 8 Gbps Fibre Channel data center and server connectivity products and a virtualization solution bundle.
Brocade’s Herman Chao, Sr. Director, Product Management, Server Connectivity, said the  HP StorageWorks P2000 G3 Modular Smart Array (MSA) Virtualization SAN Starter Kit is an end-to-end 8 Gbps Fibre Channel solution that addresses the need for comprehensive storage, virtualization and management capabilities across the network infrastructures.

“It’s everything you need in a single SKU from HP… (that) really allows one to migrate all of their applications onto virtual servers… knowing they won’t see degradation of performance.” The other solutions, all shipping, include: the Brocade 804 8 Gbps Fibre Channel HBA for HP c-Class BladeSystem, and the HP StorageWorks B-series Data Center SAN Director 64-port 8 Gbps Fibre Channel Blade.

Samsung Electronics was showcasing its semiconductor technology, with the announcement that its 1.35 Volt, 1333 Mbps Green DDR3 DRAM memory, and Enterprise SSDs, have been chosen for use in HP ProLiant G6 and G7 servers. Stephen Weinger, director of marketing NAND Flash, says the reliability and performance of enterprise-class solid-state drives is real, but there are still many misconceptions that need to be corrected.

“Hard disk drives fail unpredictably, and they fail a lot. SSDs are much more reliable,” he said.

Microsoft and HP made three announcements at the conference, including a desktop virtualization tool, new tools for Frontline channel partners, and infrastructure consulting services for data warehouses. Starting at $26,000, Microsoft, HP and Citrix are offering to speed VDI deployment. HP is introducing seven new infrastructure consulting services for Microsoft SQL Server, and new training and co-marketing funds are now available to Frontline channel partners specializing in datacenter solutions.

VMware and HP announced integrated storage, desktop and connectivity solutions. The companies have combined VMware vSphere Essentials Plus with the HP P4000 Virtual SAN Appliance (VSA), the only software SAN certified as VMware Ready.  Customers can now consolidate up to 600 percent more virtualized storage, reduce complexity, improve capacity utilization and lower management costs with the new HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) Cluster verified to work with VMware vSphere.

Emulex announced that its OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapter (UCNA) technology has been selected for use in the HP ProLiant G7 server blades’ integrated HP NC551i Dual Port FlexFabric 10Gb Adapter. In addition, this technology is also used in the new HP NC551m Dual Port FlexFabric 10Gb Adapter mezzanine card.

In an industry too-often fixated on what’s new, better, different, Geneva-based Stromasys has been quietly addressing the legacy hardware market, which it estimates is worth at least $12-15 billion. With its roots in Digital Equipment Corporation’s venerable VAX – and even older PDP – minicomputers, the company provides cross-platform virtualization solutions that enable customers to migrate seamlessly and painlessly to the x86 architecture, typically delivering 10:1 savings in space, power consumption, heat dissipation and maintenance costs. It announced new solutions for the HP 3000 (Zelus) and Sun SPARC (Sybil) platforms.

CTO and chairman Robert Boers says there are approximately 3 million SPARC systems in the 20-year-plus range, and while the numbers are substantially smaller for the 3000 universe, maybe 20,000 units, customers have nowhere else to go. While HP has embraced the Zelus solution, discussions are still ongoing with Oracle about Sybil, although Stromasys has been working with Oracle for years on the Rdb database product originally created for the DEC VAX/VMS platform.