Wednesday, December 11, 2013

HP Converged Systems – simplify and speed time-to-value

 By Bill Moran, Rich Ptak

HP has announced fully integrated systems, including some of which are solution-specific systems. They call the family Converged Systems. Thus, HP joins IBM and Oracle to provide systems delivered to the customer’s location in very close to production-ready status. The big attraction is that the integration work no longer falls on customer shoulders. Instead, all the connecting and testing of the hardware is completed before shipping. HP does the background work to assure that the hardware layers converge. Customers can choose a ready-to-run VMware or Microsoft system.

HP’s goal is to simplify the entire process of configuring, ordering, installing, testing and operating the system. They have done significant work in each area to make this happen. The initial announcement is for three standard systems. These are the HP ConvergedSystem 300, the HP ConvergedSystem 700 and the 700X. They differ in the number of supported virtual machines. The 300 normally supports 50-300 VMs. The 700 supports 100-1000+ VMs. The 300 will include a VMware environment, while customers for the 700 will have a choice of a Microsoft or a VMware hypervisor. 

In addition to the three standard systems, HP will offer four specialized systems. The first is the HP ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktops. It is a Moonshot system providing desktop support in conjunction with Citrix. The next is the HP ConvergedSystem 300 for Vertica. This system offers big data processing with powerful analytics. HP also offers the HP AppSystem for SAP HANA. It leverages SAP’s in-memory technology to provide a platform for high speed database work.

The last item discussed is the HP CloudSystem, their next generation cloud offering. It offers a hybrid cloud based on OpenStack technology to reduce vendor lock-in risks. It will be aligned with HP’s new OneView infrastructure management software.

By standardizing configurations, and keeping them simple, particularly in the case of the 300, HP aims to drastically shorten the time to configure, order and move systems into production. HP is quoting a typical time of 20 days from the time of the order till the system shows up at the customer location. HP has allowed 2 days at the customer site to make the system ready for production. As might be expected, for the 700X, which offers more flexibility, things are not quite as simple and will likely take longer depending on the choices made by the customer.

A new financial model is as important as ordering simplicity and quick delivery. Here the goal is also to make it as painless as possible. HP offers a fixed payment model starting as low as $2,250 per month. Customers can grow their systems with expansion modules for as little as $550 per month. Customers can also add a utility payment model with HP Flexible Capacity Services.

HP is offering ConvergedSystem customers a free upgrade to HP OneView management software in 2014. HP already sells this software for its blades and ProLiant systems. Frost & Sullivan has recognized HP OneView with an award for excellence[1].

HP identified key applications it expects customers to run on these systems. For these, they developed application maps, called App Maps. These contain work load configuration and operational details for key software to speed implementation. Initially, these are available for SQL Server, Exchange, and SharePoint. App Maps allow HP to leverage its increasing best practices experience and expertise.

We like what HP has done with these new systems. Their efforts to simplify the ordering and other processes necessary to move a new system all the way to production appear successful. They also have available appropriate consulting services to handhold less experienced customers.

They will be adding more solution software to their converged systems as time goes by. Their new OneView software will be useful for customers to manage their infrastructure including Cloud when it becomes available. We think that HP will have real success in the marketplace with these systems.