HP goes appliance happy: Steps up preintegrated IT infrastructure rollout

Hewlett-Packard unveiled plans to take its Converged Infrastructure product lines and prepackage them to speed up implementation.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Hewlett-Packard on Monday unveiled plans to take its Converged Infrastructure product lines and prepackage them to speed up implementations. HP's armada of preintegrated systems are designed to combat workload specific systems from Oracle and IBM.

The general idea is that HP is looking to integrate hardware, software, support and services so they are turnkey. HP claims that its internal testing shows that customers can be up and running faster based on its internal testing.

Martin Whittaker, vice president of systems and solutions engineering for HP enterprise server and networking unit, chafed a bit at the term appliance. Whittaker acknowledged that these systems are appliances "at a crude level," but have more features and integration.

Despite the wrestling over terms, HP is launching a bevy of integrated systems with a major focus on analytics. HP's play is to offer many flavors of these integrated systems. For instance, HP's data warehousing systems include one that revolves around Vertica, which was recently acquired, as well as one optimized for Microsoft SQL Server and another in partnership with SAP and its HANA in-memory analytics software.

"We recognized that customers want preintegrated solutions, but in an open way that's best of breed," said Whittaker. Whittaker also noted that HP aims to be more open than Oracle, which offers Exadata based on the company's stack. "Oracle positions Exadata as one size fits all," said Whittaker. "There's a more open way."

Indeed, HP's virtualization appliance will support Microsoft, Citrix and VMware. "We're giving customer choice," said Whittaker. "There are multiple workloads and use cases."

Among the key items in these converged parts:

Converged Systems: Optimized hardware and software packages that can launch new applications in hours instead of months based on internal testing. Your mileage will vary and there's no third party confirmation on HP's claims.

Under the Converged Systems umbrella are the following:

  • VirtualSystem, which is optimized for virtual server and desktop deployments. It supports Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen and VMware. VirtualSystem ships in the third quarter.
  • CloudSystem, a cloud services platform.
  • AppSystem, which revolves around application management. HP also rolled out the Vertica Analytics System and bundles to consolidate databases as well as a data warehouse appliance. HP's Vertica data warehouse appliance is available today and a HP-SAP HANA AppSystem is due in the third quarter.

These systems are all designed to talk to each other so you could mix and match data warehousing software.

Converged Storage: HP is integrating its Store360 software with its BladeSystem and ProLiant hardware.

Under the storage category, HP launched a file serving tool---X5000 G2 Network Storage Systems---for small enterprises and a network storage system to manage unstructured data. HP has also launched a new virtual array and surrounded it with services.

Converged Data Center: This effort is a new class of HP's Performance Optimized Data Centers (PODs) that can be deployed in 12 weeks and a quarter of the brick and mortar facility costs. This POD, the 240a, has a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating as low as 1.05. That PUE is in line with historical averages. Facebook's data center PUE is 1.07.

HP is also offering consulting and services around its hardware.

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