HP had a pop at Cisco's Unified Computing System today, during the launch of a number of cloud components, including some that integrate 3PAR's storage gear, acquired in September 2010, into the HP product set.
David Chalmers, CTO of HP's enterprise storage and servers division, said that a unified system based on best-of-breed solutions was past its time.
The Cisco way of addressing what both companies see as a need to deliver a unified set of datacentre technologies involves building partnerships with third parties and integrating them on behalf of its customers. The list includes BMC, EMC, Emulex, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Novell, Oracle, QLogic, Red Hat and VMware.
However said Chalmers, after the honeymoon period of that kind of partnership is over, he said, the problem is that everyone wants to get ahead of the others by tweaking their technology to gain an advantage. This means that the result is less unified and will require integration work by the customer.
HP on the other hand plans to do it all in-house, by way of acquisition if necessary, hence the buy-out of 3PAR. Chalmers said that adherence to open standards is a key element of HP's offering. "Today, the converged approach is better and cheaper, and gets you to market more quickly," he said.
Chalmers made his remarks at the launch of new pieces of the integration jigsaw of 3PAR's storage into HP's CloudSystem, which was launched just a month ago. This means that HP's Storage Provisioning Manager software and its X9300 network storage gateway, which is based on the Ibrix file server technology that HP acquired in 2009, now support 3PAR storage hardware. The new elements are aimed primarily at service providers.
HP also announced a new SAN that lives in a blade server chassis. The new P4800 G2 SAN installs inside an HP BladeSystem C7000, eliminating the need for an external box. It can, claims HP, reduce storage costs by up to 65 percent, presumably because you don't need storage networking. It's powered by HP's P4000 SAN/iQ 9.0 software and can be managed with the HP's Insight Control plug-in for VMware's vCenter. It also supports VMware VAAI -- the virtualisation company's storage APIs that allow virtual storage to work with virtualisation hosts. It costs at least $148,000.
The company's also extending its application appliance business with the launch of the E5000 Messaging System, a pre-configured server running Microsoft Exchange that can support from 300 to 3,000 mailboxes, depending on how much you pay. Prices start at $35,900 for 300 mailboxes, rising to $68,500 for 3,000 mailboxes. This idea will be extended in future; Chalmers refused to comment on unannounced products, so didn't deny that an SAP system in a box might be on its way.
And this all follows the company's announcement just last Friday of Enterprise Cloud Services -- which it now offers to all, although this is not HP's first datacentre-centric services offering.