LAS VEGAS – Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) used its HP Discover user conference to roll-out a host of new data centre and networking offerings that seem a more natural fit for the enterprise market, but HP executives say the offerings will scale well into the midmarket and all will be available through HP’s channel partners.
Discover is the merger of HP’s legacy hardware and software conferences, and the merging of the events reflects HP’s strategy around converged infrastructure. The vendor is positioning its ability to design the entire IT architecture to work together, from data centre to endpoint, as a value differentiator that gives its offerings an advantage in infrastructure and interoperability other vendors can’t match.
HP rolled-out a number of offerings under its converged infrastructure banner, including the HP EcoPOD 240a (performance optimized data centre), a pre-built and configured modular data centre it says can deploy in a fraction of the time of a traditional data centre, and at a fraction of the cost.
Available in North America in the fourth quarter of 2011, HP claims the EcoPOD can be deployed in just 12 weeks, and at a quarter the cost of a traditional data centre. Data centres today are facing both a capacity crisis and an energy crisis said Mark Potter, senior vice-president and general manager, HP industry standard servers and storage.
“Traditional approaches just won’t be enough,” said Potter. “It’s too slow to deploy a traditional data centre and with the construction costs, the regulation and the integration with IT, it’s just too costly.”
In Canada, the market for EcoPOD will likely primarily be large enterprises and service providers, such as companies in the oil and gas sector, education, financial services, and companies in remote locations. But Geoff Kereluik, vice-president of commercial sales for HP Canada, said they’re working on an EcoPOD sale in Vancouver with a number of smaller businesses. It’s still in negotiations, but the companies will either jointly purchase the EcoPOD and share the capacity, or HP will offer it as a service.
HP insists there is a channel play for EcoPOD with certification available primarily available for the vendor’s converged infrastructure elite partners, of whom they have 13 in Canada.
“The channel is the way we prefer to do business in Canada,” said Kereluik. “It’s not as complex as people think. There’s configuration information for all the components because it’s all pre-built. That’s the beauty of it.”
Potter added giving partners the ability to essentially sell an entire data centre will be a powerful new opportunity for the channel.
“For partners dealing with independent cloud vendors and high performance computing and looking to expand capacity, this is an ideal solution for them to have a CIO-level conversation with a client about changing economics, and for the first time have the ability to sell a data centre with optimized IT,” said Potter.
A Converged Infrastructure
The EcoPod has HP’s converged infrastructure approach at its heart, which holds that industry-standard based technology designed to work together from the ground-up is the only way to give a business the IT agility it needs, and is much more efficient than vendors that try to lock-down proprietary systems.
HP used Discover to announce a number of other new offerings under its converged infrastructure focus, primarily around storage.
“It’s time to bring storage back from a separate, proprietary and siloed entity to a converged and integrated part of the data centre,” said David Donatelli, executive vice-president, enterprise servers, storage and networking with HP. “We’re poised to capitalize because HP is the only vendor that can build IT our from the data centre to the endpoint and back in again.”
HP has upgraded its midrange enterprise virtual array (EVA) with the HP P6000, the first EVA offering with native iSCSI capability. The X5000 G2 Network Storage System is a network-attached storage (NAS) gateway. And the X9000 Ibrix Network Storage System is a scale-out NAS system that uses the software from HP’s 2009 acquisition of Ibrix.
HP also announced a new portfolio of systems with converged hardware, software, tailored consulting and HP Solution Support services, similar to EMC and Cisco’s vBlock offerings. The Converged portfolio comes in three “Virtual System” models ranging from small to large: VS1, VS2 and VS3.
Donatelli noted that all the new offerings will be available through the channel.
“This is a great opportunity for our channel partners. Half our revenue comes from the channel, and everything is capable of being sold through the channel,” said Donatelli. “There is so much commonality across our offerings that it’s a much more simple offering for customers to buy and partners to represent to their customers.”
Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.