HP this week really stirred up the Converged Infrastructure world by introducing three new solution offerings, one an incremental evolution of an existing offering and the other two representing new options which will put increased pressure on competitors. The trio includes:

  • HP VirtualSystem – HP’s answer to vStart, Flex Pod and vBlocks, VirtualSystem is a pre-integrated stack of servers (blade and racked options), HP network switches and HP Converged Storage (3Par and Left Hand Networks iSCSI) along with software, including the relevant OS and virtualization software. Clients can choose from four scalable deployment options that support up to 750, 2500 or 6000 virtual servers or up to 3000 virtual clients. It supports Microsoft and Linux along with VMware and Citrix. Since this product is new, announced within weeks of the publication of this document, we have had limited exposure it, but HP claims that they have added significant value in terms of optimized infrastructure, automation of VM deployment, management and security. In addition, HP will be offering a variety of services and hosting options along with VirtualSystem. Forrester expects that VirtualSystem will change the existing competitive dynamics and will result in a general uptick of interest it similar solutions. HP is positioning VirtualSystem as a growth path to CloudSystem, with what they describe as a “streamlined” upgrade path to a hybrid cloud environment.
  • HP CloudSystem – This HP Converged Infrastructure solution, an evolutionary update of its previous incarnation as HP BladeSystem Matrix and intended growth path for VirtualSystem users, is a multi-tenant, application-agnostic services delivery platform for deploying a cloud solution for the enterprise as a platform for a wide variety of uses, and for hosting providers to provide SaaS solutions. HP supports multiple hypervisors and non-virtualized workloads, with default virtualization management conducted through the Matrix Operating Environment. HP provides guidance and templates for common enterprise workloads and configurations like Oracle RAC, Microsoft Exchange Server, and SAP, to name a few. HP’s packaged solutions also include on-site professional services integration to aid in setup and knowledge transfer. HP has announced that they will add bursting capability, allowing CloudSystem users to easily scale workloads out to an external cloud environment, as well as an expanded roster of service providers in the second half of 2011 under the umbrella of the newly announced CloudAgile Service Provider program.
  • HP AppSystems – Expanding on the Microsoft portfolio of solutions, HP in June 2011 announced the HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance, optimized for SQL Server 2008 R2, which delivers high performance, throughput and capacity for data marts and small-scale data warehouses, in an integrated appliance, including HP hardware, HP and Microsoft software, and HP solution support. The new HP Database Consolidation Solution, Optimized for SQL Server 2008 R2 is a prebuilt reference architecture for virtualized SQL Server consolidation, which provides prescriptive guidance leveraging years of experience from HP and Microsoft. As part of the AppSystems portfolio, HP will also ship the HP Vertica Real-Time Analytics System with 3 deployment options/sizes and the HP Vertica Analytics Platform (software). The HP Vertica appliances will support up to 26TB in the ¼ rack, 52TB in the ½ rack and 105 TB’s in the full rack.

With these new announcements, the virtual infrastructure platform segment of the CI space begins to look positively crowded, and now HP users will have an alternative to the VCE offerings as well as Dell’s new vStart options when looking at these platforms. On the integrated application stack side, the new HP options look like strong choices for users of these complex vertical stacks.

All in all, a strong move for HP with good value for customers and one that will increase pressure on competitors.