IDEAS International gives HP’s new converged infrastructure offerings the thumbs up.
In early June, HP announced an expansion of its strategy for HP Converged Infrastructure by rolling out a number of new products and services for implementing virtual, cloud and dedicated application environments using a common architecture and staged process. According to HP, “Converged Infrastructure is the HP strategy to help clients accelerate IT value, and do so at their own pace and preference. This is achieved through a systematic approach that enables clients to overcome the complexity, inflexibility, and high costs created by IT sprawl and turn technology assets into interoperable, shared pools of resources with a common management platform.”
With its extended strategy, HP now pursues a continuum of opportunities for its blade server platform, extending from pure vertical integration to more open integration, all supported by a common hardware architecture, management software, and security software.
The week of June 6, HP announced two new types of converged systems, and enhancements to a third, all of which are built on a single hardware foundation based on HP’s servers, storage and networking:
- HP VirtualSystem (New): This system integrates servers, storage, networking, virtualization software, and services into a system that is optimized for virtual server and virtual desktop environments from Microsoft, Citrix, and VMware. It supports Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen, and VMware. An optional common security model, based on HP TippingPoint, delivers end-to-end security, and everything is managed through a single ‘pane of glass.’ In addition to TippingPoint, extensions to VirtualSystems include Site Scope, Data Protector, and Storage Essentials. Three preconfigured modular systems are available for virtual server, supporting 750, 2500, and 6000 VMs. A single system supporting 3000 virtual clients is also available.
- HP CloudSystem (Enhanced): This system, using the same infrastructure components as HP VirtualSystem, includes tools to build both private and hybrid clouds. CloudSystem, which was originally announced in January 2011 as the evolutionary follow-on to BladeSystem Matrix, adds intelligent automation and orchestration, along with ongoing management and security to support cloud multi-tenancy. On June 7, HP enhanced its CloudSystem offering by announcing a new service provider program, and a new array of cloud services. HP also announced “dual bursting.” Bursting to local resources is available today and out of the box bursting to service providers will come later in 2011.
- HP AppSystems (New): With this system, HP leverages Converged Infrastructure to create a number of application-specific configurations, based on solutions from Microsoft and Vertica. These configurations are fully configured, turnkey systems that can be brought online rapidly with minimal issues. Because HP AppSystems are all based on HP Converged Infrastructure, they can help customers transparently move these applications to virtual or cloud environments as appropriate. So far, HP has announced the following AppSystems (not all are yet shipping, though): HP Enterprise Data Warehouse for Microsoft, HP Business Decision Appliance for Microsoft, HP Messaging System for Microsoft, HP Vertica Analytics System, HP Database Consolidation Solution for Microsoft, HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance for Microsoft
Other vendors have their own versions of converged infrastructure, and HP is competing in an increasingly crowded and competitive market. Through the VCE (formerly Acadia) joint venture, Cisco, EMC and VMware had one of the earliest entries with the vBlock, which was announced in late 2009. IBM’s CloudBurst on System x and Power Systems is another tightly integrated, preconfigured solution that is similar in concept to HP CloudSystem. Dell’s recently announced vStart, a pre-packaged, tested, balanced, and fully validated virtual enterprise infrastructure solution. Finally, Hitachi’s Converged Data Center Solutions hit the market very recently. We expect to see even more competition going forward.
With this announcement, HP has not only shown that it has a solid vision and strategy, but an increasingly complete inventory of products, services and financing to back up their approach. HP has been demonstrating for years that it is very serious about converged infrastructure. Many potential customers had been holding back on implementing converged infrastructure because of the significant steps they must take to get there and the associated risks. By creating a staged approach that leverages common hardware, management, and security stacks, HP allows customers to move at their own pace from dedicated applications to virtualized applications, to cloud infrastructure, and finally to common modular datacenter components, thus minimizing risk. This announcement is an incremental, yet critical, step for HP as it strengthens its portfolio with vertically integrated systems that make it easy for users to take advantage of virtualization and the elasticity of cloud computing. We expect many more announcements like this as HP executes on its Converged Infrastructure strategy.