In Hewlett Packard's view, IT support services haven't kept pace with the challenges that cloud computing and virtualization bring, such as pinpointing problems in data center infrastructure that often comes from multiple vendors.
HP's new Always On Support Services portfolio, unveiled Wednesday, tackles these issues with what HP is calling "proactive support" -- meaning access to IT support professionals who've acquainted themselves with the peculiarities of the customer's environment and are equipped to identify issues in cloud and virtual environments.
HP has re-trained its support staff to deliver this support model, which is baked into HP's new ProLiant Gen8 servers and draws on diagnostic and predictive analytics data from HP's Insight Remote Support automation tools. HP is also allowing its ServiceONE partners to deliver the new services.
"If you're in this environment, with virtual pools of resources, the kinds of services you will buy from HP are totally different," said Flynn Maloy, director of marketing for HP Technology Services, in an interview.
Within Always On Support Services are three distinct offerings. The first, HP Foundation Care, is delivered by an HP support representative with knowledge of the software and hardware in the customer's virtual environment. Resolution times are typically speedy because these reps are in close contact with HP's ISV partners, according to Maloy.
"Resolving problems at the data center level means that you don't look at storage team, or networking team, but the whole data center," Maloy said.
The second service, HP Proactive Care, skips through lower support levels and gives customers immediate access to HP experts. Using telemetry and remote monitoring tools, these experts, over time, build a profile of the customer's environment that allows them to pinpoint performance problems before they arise.
Proactive Care includes options for virtualization, capacity assessment, and patch management. "We work with you on the tooling, and process, to improve what's going on in the environment. There is an operational reactive component and the red 'Bat phones'" for support, said Maloy.
The third service, HP Datacenter Care, is a customized support offering for clients with multi-vendor virtual environments, which also includes a single support contact at HP.
"It’s a customized data center approach to support, with building blocks," said Maloy. "Some big customers have IT departments, while others just need a parts kiosk or a phone straight to Level 3 support."
Maloy said CIOs often tell HP they would like to assign their staff to higher-level tasks than support, and the Always On Support Services is designed to offload these functions to HP and its ServiceONE partners.
"In virtual and cloud environments, stuff slows down, you get performance freezes, and you still have complexity," said Maloy.