Today HP announced its new Converged Infrastructure solutions. The solutions include four offerings which are designed to help the enterprise IT organization with a one-stop shop for cloud and data storage solutions.

This move by HP offers a fix to the problem many IT organizations are facing: options abound in the marketplace for data center hosting/management, on-demand bursting capabilities, and cloud solutions. It can be confusing. HP packages these offerings up nicely to offer an end-to-end solution with a common management platform. HP's consulting services complements this and can even offer an upgrade path to move to a private/public/hybrid cloud.  I believe the new Converged Infrastructure solution should help cut down on managing multiple vendors and move to a more consolidated and integrated approach, with faster deployment times. 

However, the picture is not that simple as many complications arise around contractual performance metrics and SLAs. If the main idea of these offerings is speed-to-market, I'd specifically look into the following SLA considerations as you're preparing your business case and/or negotiations:

  1. What are your scaling requirements? Some of the HP offerings include the bursting of on-site resources.  If required, what would you need them to do and how quickly?  What would the consequences be if they weren't able to hit those targets?
  2. What are your security and contingency plan requirements? I would argue that SLAs in the cloud will differ based on your industry. If you're a healthcare provider building a cloud solution, your requirements may involve storing data in a private cloud due to HIPAA requirements. If you're a government organization, your requirements may involve certain data residing in a certain country.
  3. What happens if you're looking into the hybrid model and at some point in the future want to convert the application/storage solution into an on-premisessolution? I would build this transition model out as part of the TCO so your stakeholders know what to expect, in the event you need to elect this option in the future. This should also be discussed with HP upfront as part of the negotiations. No one wants to suffer through the pain of another round of any transition services negotiations after you're locked into a multiyear contract, with potentially limited leverage.
  4. From a benefits perspective, HP indicated that organizations can save as much as 75% of capital expense on the converged data center offering. In addition, it can be deployed in as little as 12 weeks. epending on the business intention, this could be a good fit for capital-constrained organizations looking to accelerate their ROIs.

Is your organization looking into HP's Converged Infrastructure?  I’m interested in hearing your experiences with this and what SLAs your team is thinking about negotiating.