HP announces converged infrastructure solution

HP Co. announced the next generation of its Integrity product line today with five key components that work together to deliver the company’s first mission-critical converged infrastructure solution.

The Integrity portfolio now includes the HP-UX 11i v3 operating system, new Integrity server blades, a new Superdome 2 environment, the rx2800 i2 rack-mount server and the HP BladeSystem Matrix with HP-UX.

“This is the largest HP announcement in mission-critical computing in the last ten years,” said Rob Adley, vice-president of enterprise server sales at HP Canada. 

HP spent several years working on the products, which included going back into the customer base to understand the key concerns of customers, he said. “Two things really come clear all the time and that is uptime and flexibility,” said Adley.

“Statistically right now, about 70 per cent of customers’ budgets are being spent on managing the existing infrastructure they already have in place and 30 per cent is left on innovating new ways to deliver value to the business,” said Adley.

HP’s converged infrastructure “allows us to flip that ratio on its end,” he said. It “allows us to provide pools of resources that can be dynamically managed and allocated through software to provide the infrastructure that that we need, so it is very much a fundamental change in the way we deliver infrastructure,” he said.

“The solution to the sprawl … is really about taking these large infrastructure environments and managing them and deploying infrastructure in a fashion that allows us to refocus our efforts on delivering innovation to the business versus managing the existing proliferation of silos of technology,” said Adley.

Mission-critical and high-end computing has traditionally been very closely associated with the hardware, but HP is taking the position that the operating system and processors are unique to the Superdome platform, said John Sloan, lead research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group Ltd.

At a broad level, all convergence and standardization is targeted to driving down the complexity and operational cost of your data center so that more can be devoted to innovation at the software level, he said. HP is taking it a step further by not limiting convergence to one layer of the enterprise infrastructure, he said.

“The only difference on the physical side between an X86 server and a Superdome is the processors that are on the blades and how the operating system works across the architectures,” said Sloan.

The announcement shows potential for driving down total cost with more convergence and standardization of infrastructure, said Sloan. “Those non-standard servers may, in the past, have been drawing more operational costs because they had to be managed separately,” he said.

HP’s indication that it will continue to support the Integrity platform is also significant, said Sloan. “It is part of their roadmap, in spite of the fact that more and more workloads are on Linux and Windows servers now,” he said.

The new 2-socket, 4-socket and 8-socket Integrity blades are based on a new blade scale architecture that is all about simplifying the environment, said Adley. The line includes common components for x86 products through to Superdome 2, he said.

The rx2800 two-socket rack mount server marks a dramatic improvement in rack mount density, while Superdome 2 offers significant increases in resiliency, he said. Superdome 2 now fits into standard racks and has a very modular design, he said.

The BladeSystem Matrix running HP-UX allows enterprises to provision servers, storage and networking in an automated fashion through resource pools and dynamically adjusts to meet the needs of business, said Adley. It also includes management software for controlling everything through a single pan of glass, he said.

HP’s mission-critical Flex Fabric dynamically adapts so as business demands change, enterprises can provision networking, storage and CPU on-the-fly through a single management infrastructure, said Adley.

Other technology announced by HP includes Blade Link, which physically connects blades together to build SMP compatibility within a blade environment at very high speeds and very low latency, he said.

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