HP Goes Adaptive With New Infrastructure

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HP partners are interested in the solution because it allows them to approach customers with the blueprint of a complete data center that can be customized to meet customer needs.

"It gives us a discussion point," said Sam Haffar, president and CEO of Houston Texas-based Computex. "It lets me tell customers that I can provide a complete infrastructure and can do all the integration."

That complete infrastructure is based on what Haffar and Joe Leung, worldwide partner program manager for HP ProLiant business advantage, call reference architecture.

"The Adaptive Infrastructure addresses a range of [customer] requirements with reference architecture," said Leung. "Channel partners can pick a reference architecture and tailor it to a customer's specific requirements. It provides the channel the opportunity to put together the right solutions."

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HP currently offers three different reference architectures that partners can use to approach midsized customers. Each Adaptive Infrastructure reference architecture is aimed at different sized midmarket companies depending on employees. HP offers these blueprints for companies with up to 300 employees, from 300 to 500 employees and from 500 to 1,000 employees.

The customizable nature of the Adaptive Infrastructure allows partners to offer customers the exact components that they need to run their small office. Additionally, HP and its partners now have a way to offer blade technology to customers who previously may have felt that the entry barriers were too difficult to overcome.

"It is individual pieces," said Haffar. "We spec out an enclosure, six servers, storage blades, backup blade -- whatever the customer needs -- and present as a complete solution."

That complete solution includes Microsoft Server 2008 and, HP believes, provides a product that will allow midsized business to get their IT infrastructure up and running in either a central office or in remote or branch offices for customers that need to provide local IT functions for remote workers.

"Partners can tailor [the Adaptive Infrastructure] to the specific needs of customers," said Urs Renggli, director, WW Small And Midmarket Business, HP Technology Solutions Group. "Starting for less than $20,000, customers can get rid of old issues with a bundled solution."

That low price tag might cause concern among some midsized customers who aren't looking for a watered down enterprise solution with less functionality and price point designed to sell. Instead, Renggli insists that the Adaptive Infrastructure was designed for the midmarket from the beginning and will address the needs of customers who need agile and robust IT without sacrificing functionality and reliability for a cheaper price tag.

"The Infrastructure is designed for midsized customers," said Renggli. "There are over 100 blueprints configurations that channel partners can use to sell to midsized customers, complete with different applications that aren't watered down enterprise solutions, but are built from the ground up for midsized customer."

Haffar agrees, saying that the Adaptive Infrastructure is a "good thing" for channel partners and midmarket customers. He goes on to note that there are still many ways to wrap additional sales and traditional service packages around the product, ensuring that margins remain profitable.

"You still need integration services and products," said Haffar. "Partners still need to stand up Exchange, backup, disaster recovery and possibly move old servers to another site. There are a lot of services wrapped around the HP Adaptive Infrastructure, and it is still a bill of material."

Haffar believes that channel partners should look to the Adaptive Infrastructure as a new way of doing the same old thing. There is still hardware to be speced and sold; midmarket customers will still need the services to keep their IT unit operating and channel partners can simply roll it into a single cabinet.

"It's no different than what we're doing now, just with more complete services and collateral to go to market with. Rather than selling pieces, we can make the sale all wrapped up together," said Haffar.