Microsoft, HP agree three-year SME pact

The companies are to integrate their products to offer SMEs 'smart bundles' of HP servers, storage, and networking along with Windows Server and Insight software
Written by Rupert Goodwins, Contributor

Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard have announced a three-year, $250m agreement to integrate their products for small and medium-sized businesses.

In a joint press conference on Wednesday, Microsoft and HP chief executives Steve Ballmer and Mark Hurd said the integration would reduce costs and increase productivity for their customers.

"We intend it to make it simple, fast and cost-effective for our customers to build IT systems that scale quickly", Ballmer said in a video statement. "We'll collaborate on an engineering roadmap, deliver a comprehensive set of integrated solutions, and we'll team up to provide integrated sales and support."

Hurd said in a separate video statement that the partnership would advance HP's "converged infrastructure strategy, converging servers, storage and networking, managed in a unified environment".

During a conference call, Hurd said 11,000 sales representatives were being dedicated to the alliance, which is non-exclusive and does not affect deals already in place between the companies and third parties such as Oracle or VMware, both of whom have agreements with HP.

Among the specific promises, Microsoft said it was going to integrate HP's Insight Software and Business Technology Optimization software portfolio with Microsoft's System Center suite, for virtual service management.

"In the near term, the technical result of this partnership is that we'll see data center management solutions based on both the System Center family of tools and HP's Insight Software," Microsoft technical product manager Edwin Yuen said in a blog post. "This allows for heterogeneous management of data centers, integrating not just monitoring but also provisioning and maintenance of both physical and virtual systems."

Yuen also said there would be "smart bundles" for SMEs, using HP servers, storage, and networking along with Windows Server and Insight software, all managed with System Center Essentials (SCE) and HP Operations Center.

Bob Muglia, Microsoft's head of servers, told ZDNet UK's sister site CNet.com that the agreement was aimed at preparing customers for a more cloud-based future.

"The key thing that created the imperative to broaden the relationship is the recognition that the cloud is an inflection point," Muglia said, adding that this shift means customers need a new application model, a new operational model and essentially a new way of thinking about their technology.

"The kinds of things we are doing is understanding how we can work together to enable developers to build systems that are cloud-based, always available and can scale out."


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