HP Aims To Tear Into IBM With New SAP HANA Shark

Hewlett-Packard smells blood in the water with IBM in the process of selling its x86 server business and is unleashing a new HP Shark ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA that is aimed squarely at grabbing SAP server share from IBM.

HP says the new HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA, which is designed for SAP analytics and data warehouse workloads, provides two-times faster analytics processing in comparison to IBM, a well-established force in the SAP systems market.

The new HP Shark comes at a vulnerable time for IBM, which is in the process of selling its x86 servers business to China-based computer giant Lenovo in a $2.3 billion deal.

"With IBM getting out of the server business, we are the only one still standing that has all the pieces to do a converged system for SAP HANA," said HP ConvergedSystems Senior Vice President Tom Joyce. "We are getting about [two times the] capacity over the equivalent IBM system for our in memory solution. We are not mincing words at all. We configure memory pools, do more memory and more performance."

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HP is hosting a number of large IBM solution provider partners at its Global Partner Conference, March 24 - 26 in Las Vegas. What's more, Joyce has already met with a number of IBM partners in a bid to bring them on board to carry HP's SAP HANA ConvergedSystem in the wake of the IBM x86 server sale to Lenovo. "I have personally met with the largest ones in the Americas that have sold IBM almost exclusively in some cases for 20 to 25 years," said Joyce. "They are all shaken and are looking for ways to maintain their business. Certainly IBM and Lenovo are going to try to do their best to eliminate the confusion. But the reality is there is confusion. Anytime you put change in front of a customer, the customer is going to consider other alternatives. And HP is going to be there with what we think are the best offerings out there."

HP said the new ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA, which will be available this spring, represents a paradigm shift for customers who can now run ERP and data analytics on the same workload-based system. Not only that, it opens the door for customers to get real-time data analytics that in the past would have taken a number of days or even weeks to obtain.

The HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA is priced starting at $87,787 including support and deployment services.

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HP is promising the new HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA -- which includes server, storage, networking and software, all integrated and optimized for analytics and data warehouse workloads -- will be up and running for customers in as few as 15 days from ordering. That's a big breakthrough for customers used to waiting many months for an SAP tuned system.

HP is also rolling out HP ServiceGuard For SAP HANA, a new business continuity service offering that provides automated failover for SAP HANA.

The HP SAP ConvergedSystem 500 is just the start of HP's SAP server share grab against IBM. HP is also in the process of an ambitious joint development effort with SAP referred to as "Project Kraken," a new class of ConvergedSystem being co-developed by SAP and HP aimed at accelerating the HP ConvergedSystem performance gains for mission-critical SAP workloads, said Joyce. Project Kraken is expected to be available later this year.

"The HP ConvergedSystem 500 For SAP HANA is the tip of the iceberg," said Joyce. "Project Kraken is a new class of server that is going to get us to very, very large memory pool with up to 12 TBytes of data in a single memory pool. That's a huge amount of capacity for analytics."

The HP ConvergedSystem For SAP HANA represents what may be the most lucrative, high margin opportunity for solution providers looking to make the shift from selling pure infrastructure to business outcome application workloads by teaming with HP's ConvergedSystems unit, said Joyce.

Joyce, a long time channel proponent, has insisted that the ConvergedSystem Sharks be brought to market hand-in-hand with solution provider partners. HP is offering sales, technical and marketing support to both IBM and HP partners ready to commit to go to market with HP on the SAP HANA opportunity.

HP has implemented a channel-neutral compensation policy for HP's direct sales force and instituted strict rules of engagement to make sure partners are front and center in the SAP HANA march.

"Many regional VARs and local VARS don't have a good handle yet on how big this SAP HANA opportunity could potentially be," said Joyce. "There is a huge base of customers that are interested in this technology. Having an offering like ConvergedSystem for HANA is a door opener to get to SAP customers that needs to make a decision. Beyond a door opener, this is just a better way to do HANA."

Critical to HP's success in tackling the SAP HANA opportunity is the company's more than 10 years experience building systems to run SAP with more than 47,000 customers around the world and more than 150,000 employees inside HP with critical SAP skills, said Joyce. "We have a got a tremendous amount of SAP depth and expertise," he said. "SAP has bet the farm on HANA because they think it is that big, and we believe a substantial portion of our customer base is going to be making the move to HANA in some way."

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Partners that are making the leap to new HP ConvergedSystems like the HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA are seeing a 45 percent higher margins, 85 percent bigger deals and 200 percent greater services revenue, said HP Director of Worldwide Go to Market for HP ConvergedSystems Kevin Garrison.

Solution providers that do not move quickly into the converged systems market could find themselves struggling to survive, said Garrison, a former vice president of sales for SP500 power Lilien Systems. "My 'sense of urgency' meter is over the top," he said. "I am trying to make sure the partner community understands the huge incremental upside. At the same time, partners that are not actively engaged may lose the business without even knowing it."

Garrison said he has met with a number of customers that have issued requests for proposals around converged systems without partners of record even knowing about the shift.

Greg Schumacher, director of the converged infrastructure practice for Arrow Electronics, a $21.36 billion IT distributor that is teaming with HP, however, said the HP shift to converged systems is rapidly gaining solution provider support. He said Arrow has seen a jump in only a month from single-digit deal registrations to triple-digit deal registrations for HP ConvergedSystems. What's more, those deal registrations are split evenly between virtualization systems and higher-end application workload offerings like the HP ConvergedSystem 300 for Vertica.

"We see huge growth in this converged systems market," said Schumacher, noting that the distributor already has an SAP HANA system in its technology lab. "HP has a great portfolio of converged systems and they have positioned them very well to be carried by distribution and partners rather than going the direct route. They understand our value and they want to use it to grow their business."

Avnet Technology Solutions, a $10.36 billion technology distributor, is also seeing increased momentum around HP's Sharks ConvergedSystems, said Chris Swahn, vice president and general manager of HP Solutions at Avnet. "We have seen sales accelerate rapidly in the last four to six weeks," he said.

Swahn said there is a paradigm shift from selling boxes to solving business solution problems. "The partners that don't get with it are going to have a problem which is what do they do for a living," he said. "There is a big difference between selling a box and selling a solution to solve an end user's business problem with a ConvergedSystem."


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