Partners: HP ConvergedSystem Sharks Will Tear Up Competitors

Hewlett-Packard partners say the server leader's new HP ConvergedSystem data center infrastructure -- code named Shark-- spell trouble for competitors swimming in the same IT waters.

In fact, two of the company's top partners are predicting 25 percent sales gains for their companies as HP ramps up its converged system offensive in 2014.

[Related: HP EVP Gomez Establishes New Global Channel Marketing Offensive ]

HP unveiled the new ConvergedSystems, including its mainstay HP ConvergedSystem 300 for Virtualization Monday ahead of its Discover conference, which runs Dec. 10-12 in Barcelona Spain. The new system aims to provide double the performance at a 25 percent lower entry price than the rival EMC-Cisco-VMware VCE VBlock System 100. The ConvergedSystem 300, which is targeted at the midmarket, works with both Microsoft and VMware hypervisors and is priced starting at $136,600. It is available now.

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The other new ConvergedSystems offerings include a hosted desktop product which is available immediately and a product based on HP's hot selling Vertica analytics software that will be available next year.

Fred Traversi, the president of AdvizeX Technologies, one of HP's top 10 enterprise partners and a unit within services giant Rolta, a $500 million IT services powerhouse, said he is expecting the new ConvergedSystems to help propel a 25 percent increase in sales in his HP business for the current HP fiscal year, which started Nov. 1. That's twice the growth rate of AdvizeX's other vendor offerings, said Traversi.

The new offerings up HP's game against converged system rivals like EMC and Cisco's VCE based systems and Cisco-NetApp's FlexPod offerings, said Traversi. He expects HP to become even more aggressive with new offerings coming to market in 2014.

"We'll get a turbo boost with additional converged systems coming and Moonshot becoming more prevalent in the marketplace," said Traversi.

HP has not only upped its converged system portfolio but is putting the PartnerOne program financial incentives behind the products to make it "advantageous to focus on HP combined infrastructure solutions," said Traversi.

The new HP ConvergedSystem offerings, partners said, come at a pivotal moment for HP, which is entering the third year of HP CEO Meg Whitman's five year turnaround plan. They said HP -- which is widely credited with inventing the term converged systems -- has finally delivered a converged system lineup that is competitive against rivals like Cisco.

NEXT:Partners Credit Tom Joyce For Upping HP's Converged Systems Game

Partners credit HP Senior Vice President Tom Joyce, who took the new converged system helm just eight months ago, for delivering the new product lineup in record time along with a renewed channel commitment.

Chris Swahn, vice president and general manager of HP Solutions for Avnet Technology Solutions, a $10.36 billion technology distributor, said the distributor has already felt as much as a 10 percent sales kick from the new systems and expects as much as a 15 percent additional boost in 2014. "We should feel as great as a 25 percent lift in totality by the end of 2014," he said.

The new HP converged systems assault has "energized" Avnet and its solution provider partners, said Swahn. He said Avnet has been working for the last two months with HP on the new systems and has already seen "profits and economic upside" from the new systems.

HP is delivering robust new products from a stepped up research and development effort and is backing it up with aggressive marketing and channel investments, said Swahn. "It's exactly what is needed for HP to win," he said.

Swahn said HP CEO Meg Whitman and team have gotten the one-time widely admired company back in fighting shape in record time. "They get an A-plus in my book," he said. "They have taken the bull by the horns and are bringing back the HP that partners know and love. That's bringing back partner loyalty."

Peter Larocque, president of North America Distribution for Synnex, HP's 2013 top commercial distributor in year over year sales growth, wouldn't provide specific sales expectations but noted that given the high growth markets like big data and analytics, Synnex expects to "do very well" with the new systems. "HP has done a really good job of coming up with the right products," he said.

Larocque praised Joyce and the entire HP team for moving forward with a channel-first model. "It means a lot for the channel," he said. "HP has not always gotten credit for what they do for the channel. They have always been a good channel company. Now they are putting some real juice behind it in a real growth market, and it's resonating. They have winning products in a growth market with great [channel] programs."

NEXT: HP's Joyce: New Systems Are Faster, Better And Cost Less

HP Converged Systems Executive Vice President Tom Joyce said the message regarding the new systems is simple: "You are going to get it faster. It is going to work better. It is going to be higher performance and it is going to cost less." HP estimates a 20 percent reduction in total cost of ownership on the new systems compared to hardware compute, storage and networking resources managed separately, said Joyce.

The biggest bang for solution providers, said Joyce, is going to be the astronomical increase in time to billable hours for highly trained staff. The new systems take what was once a "quote and configuration" for a select customer from a several week process on several dozen sheets of paper down to a 20 minute process on a single sheet of paper, said Joyce.

"The increased velocity benefits the channel partner tremendously," he said, referring to the impact the new converged systems are going to have on solution provider profitability. "That is what they are most excited about. They want to be in a position to add value to customers faster. The faster we can get them to that point the more profitable it is for them, the more deals they can do a year."

The new converged systems required dramatic changes in design, manufacturing and inventory that have resulted in an order to production on the ConvergedSystem 300 for Virtualization in just 20 days and the ConvergedSystem 700 in 30 days, said Joyce. That rapid time from order to production could be a big competitive differentiator in the channel for HP which makes the compute, storage and networking components of the system itself compared with rival VCE which must bring together the compute, storage and networking components from founders Cisco and EMC.

HP is certainly betting that the new systems will reshape the competitive landscape against rivals like Cisco and EMC. Thus, the Shark code name for the systems, symbolizing HP's effort to tear up competitors with the new products that are perfectly engineered for specific tasks such as virtualization or big data, said Joyce. "If a Shark is the best hunting machine on the planet, we wanted these to be the best virtualization and analytics machines on the planet," he said.