HP Takes Aim At Enterprise Virtualization, Database Challenges


Hewlett Packard on Monday unveiled three new Converged Infrastructure (CI) systems, which HP is positioning as combinations of hardware, software, storage and services that promise greater efficiency and easier management in the data center.

At the opening of HP Discover in Las Vegas, HP took the wraps off VirtualSystem, which supports hypervisors from Microsoft, VMware and Citrix and also features storage from LeftHand Networks and 3PAR. VirtualSystem's chief selling points are high virtual machine per rack density, fast performance, strong security and simple end user configuration, Paul Miller, vice president of Solutions and Strategic Alliances for HP's Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking division (ESSN), said in an interview prior to the event.

From server virtualization standpoint, VirtualSystem can scale to 750, 2,500 and 6,000 virtual machines, and HP will also offer a virtual client solution that supports up to 3,000 clients per virtual system, according to Miller. HP will begin delivering VirtualSystem to customers in the third quarter of calendar 2011.

HP's channel partners will be able to sell VirtualSystem and bring their own value added services into the mix, Miller said. "They'll be able to make money by selling customers a packaged solution that glues services, storage and networking. They can help customers figure out with customers how to layer applications on top," he said.

VirtualSystem is upgradable to CloudSystem, an offering HP first began talking about in January that acts as a platform for building and managing cloud services across private, public and hybrid environments, and features strong security, governance and multitenant management.

"If someone buys a high end HP VirtualSystem, by adding our cloud automation software they can upgrade that system to the cloud. This provides seamless upgrade path and total protection on the hardware," said Miller.

The third new addition to HP's CI arsenal is AppSystem, which includes a portfolio of appliances aimed at mission critical and resource intensive workloads. "AppSystem is how we are converging infrastructure all the way up to the applications," Miller said.

HP's first three AppSystem appliances are designed for databases, data warehousing and analytics. HP's Business Data Warehouse Appliance, an AppSystem that HP has developed in partnership with Microsoft, is aimed at midrange customers for whom the cost and complexity of data warehouse technology has kept it out of reach. It supports up to 5 terabytes, is completely integrated and can be set up in minutes, Miller said.

Database Consolidation Solution, also developed with Microsoft, is for customers that have large deployments of SQL Server that are spread out over various different parts of the organization. It helps reduce power and cooling and serves as a platform for bringing together all of the small and midsize SQL databases in the environment, said Miller.

"There are sometimes hundreds or thousands of SQL databases doing mission critical jobs in the enterprise. This appliance provides a single platform on which to consolidate SQL databases to simplify management and reduce hardware cost," said Miller.

Also part of AppSystem is HP's Vertica Analytics appliance, which uses technology from the Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm's February acquisition of business intelligence specialist Vertica Systems.

HP is in the process of getting channel partners ready to sell Vertica, whose real-time analytics platform can load and analyze data at the same time and handle large volumes of data in physical, virtual and cloud environments, Miller said.

All three new CI systems reflect HP's desire to help customers see the management efficiencies and other benefits they can reap by purchasing their key data center building blocks from HP as opposed to some other networking vendor. With the exception of VirtualSystem, they're all available now.

"These appliances fit seamlessly in the data center, and because they're built on HP Converged Infrastructure, they work together and can be managed through a single pane," said Miller.