Convergence Plays Heavily in HP Product Blitz

Combining the capabilities of multiple products into single devices factored heavily in the first full day of HP's Global Partner Conference, under way this week in Las Vegas.

Highlights included network switches that offer both wired and wireless capabilities, as well as storage devices that also provide backup functionality. The Palo Alto-based company also unveiled a new blade system, a new software-defined networking (SDN) controller, enhanced mobile device management and new consulting and support services.

HP has also designated its wireless infrastructure portfolio as channel-only.

"We're looking at industry trends that drive a higher level of convergence, and we're building a whole strategy around that," said Duncan Campbell, vice president of marketing for HP's Converged Infrastructure business unit. "Channel partners need to deliver the full skill set in order to fully capitalize on it. You can't be a storage person or a networking person anymore. You have to be a converged systems person.

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Campbell noted that in many cases, the required skill sets may be distributed among multiple people in the partner organization, but he also said that companies who can deliver the whole menu of technology needs will have a strong advantage moving forward.

"A soup-to-nuts approach to technology not only provides new opportunities, it also helps to you sell higher into the customer organization, giving you better access to the C-suite," he said. "Partners can apply analytics to these capabilities in order to deliver more tightly integrated and customized solutions that can really make a difference to the customer's bottom line."

Multiple HP executives pointed to a variety of well-known industry inflection points that are important drivers to the portfolio updates. These include cloud, big data, social media and mobility, and, by extension, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

"We now have tools that can provide automated on-boarding and management of employee devices in order to meet the BYOD-related needs of our customers," said Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager of HP Networking. "It uses a self-service procedure that minimizes the need for additional IT support."

In addition, HP's SDN controller pushes signatures down to the port level, thereby dispersing threat management to the edge of the network to shore-up the perimeter.

"Our partners can now leverage SDN to build a complete security architecture," said Mayer. "They can also combine this with the BYOD capabilities to provide a very secure solution that can be offered either through resale, or as a managed service."

NEXT: Wireless Exclusively Through The Channel

Mayer also told CRN that HP's wireless infrastructure will now be available exclusively through the channel, and no longer through direct sales. "Our partners have been especially happy to hear that news," she said.

On the storage front, HP has rolled out two new StoreVirtual systems that promise to nearly double the performance and capacity density of its earlier versions. But the leader of HP Storage is most proud of the product's ability to combine storage with backup and recovery.

"What you're seeing is the convergence of software-defined storage, back-up and recovery, as well as the underlying analytics," said David Scott, senior vice president and general manager of HP Storage. This is great for channel partners because it consolidates devices with a solution that can help them to extend their storage offerings further downmarket."

"The channel needs to adjust their business models towards becoming 'trusted implementation brokers,' and this product line helps them to do that," he added.

On the server side, HP claims that its new BladeSystem c7000 Platinum enclosure provides a major performance upgrade that translates to data center savings as high as 68 percent, especially when paired with the company's new SX1018 HP Ethernet switch.