The day before enterprise-powerhouse wannabe Dell hosts its inaugural Dell World conference, its first as a privately held company, enterprise-powerhouse (and IBM) wannabe HP expanded its ConvergedSystem portfolio with a focus on virtualization, hosted desktops, and Big Data (Vertica). Designed to be up and running in as little as 20-30 days of ordering, the latest pre-configured workload-optimized systems are intended to simplify and accelerate the ordering, installing and managing of IT solutions, said Paul Miller, Vice President, Converged Appliances, Systems and Solutions Enterprise Group, HP.
Gartner’s latest numbers for the server market showed Q3 shipments grew 1.9% year-on-year, while revenue declined 2.1% from a year ago. HP was on top with just over $3.4 billion in server vendor revenue for a total share of 27.6%, up 2.2% year-on-year. While HP eked out a narrow revenue increase, along with Cisco, the other three top-five vendors all saw declines, including 19.2% by second-ranked IBM.
It’s a much more attractive picture in converged systems (converged infrastructure or CI), which experienced a 50.2% YoY revenue jump in 2Q13, to $1.3 billion. IDC measures converged infrastructure in two ways: integrated infrastructure, which includes the hardware pre-integrated with packaged software; and integrated infrastructure systems, which are designed for general-purpose, distributed workloads.
Integrated infrastructure saw total sales of $539.4 million, up 21.2% YoY, with Oracle the largest supplier with revenue of $306 million, up 39%, and holding a 56.7% share of this market segment. Integrated infrastructure systems reached $775.7 million, up 80.3%, led by the FlexPod alliance of Cisco and NetApp with sales of $203 million, up 47%, and VCE, a joint venture of Cisco, EMC and VMware, which saw its revenue rise 35% to $176 million. HP, along with Cisco/EMC’s VSPEX, Dell and IBM were lumped together into the ‘other‘ category.
While converged infrastructure definitions vary, the market is poised for continued growth. According to Technology Business Research, pre-integrated or pre-validated stacks of compute, storage and networking hardware will generate close to $4 billion in US sales over the next 12 months, while IDC predicts the global market will reach $17.8 billion in 2016, up from $4.6 billion in 2012.
According to an interview with TBR’s Christian Perry, Senior Analyst for Data Centers, the move to integrated/CI solutions over the last few years is being driven primarily by tighter budgets, and from that, the need for simpler solutions. “Data centers don’t have the people from a numbers or skills perspective. We see a much larger x86 footprint and that builds complexity.”
Resource-strapped organizations are looking for infrastructure management platforms that will unchain them from spending countless hours on mundane, administrative tasks to focus more on innovation, said IDC’s Matt Eastwood, Group VP and GM, in a prepared statement. “The market is primed and ready for an infrastructure management platform that is more intuitive and built for the needs of IT today—not the days gone by.”
In a recent interview with HP’s Jeff Carlat, Director, Converged Systems Product Management, he said the company is looking to distance itself from the competition with ‘an industry-first, consumer-inspired infrastructure management platform’. “The traditional tools to deploy and manage IT are not meeting demands,” he said.
One of the key objectives of the new CI solutions is to expand the market and reach out to new customers, said Miller. HP is also taking a channel-first approach, which should open the door to SMBs, as well as enterprise branches, departments and business groups.
“It will be interesting to see where the opportunities end up. Some will be couple of hundred VMs… up to 1,000s.”
He also expects the hosted desktop solution to disrupt the market. It’s a complex market, and no one is the same. “We’re taking the model in a whole different direction… we can offer customers uncompromised desktop experience but hosted back at the datacenter.”
The Vertica solution addresses customers struggling with the growth and/or cost of big data, said Miller. “We can increase query performance by 40 to 1000 times,and lower overall cost by 30-40%.”
There are a number of intriguing aspects to the announcements that will unfortunately remain intriguing for the foreseeable future, according to Miller. For instance Moonshot, which debuted in April, and which offers the promise of significantly disrupting the server market, is only being used in highly selective – and limited – applications. For hosted desktops, it’s the right converged technology for the right workload, he said. As for hosted desktop as a service, that’s also not being announced as an HP cloud offering, other than as an option for ISPs and channel partners.
Under The Hood
Based on best practice configurations, the new systems deliver risk-free performance tuned, pre-tested and validated systems out-of-the-box, and include:
-HP ConvergedSystem 300 (50-300 virtual machines; starts at $136,600) and 700 (100–1,000 plus virtual machines) for Virtualization that deliver virtualization software from Microsoft and VMware, as well as supporting infrastructure in complete, all-in-one systems that double the performance at a 25% lower entry price than competitive offerings and three times the IT efficiency at 28% lower total cost of ownership;
-HP ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktops (starts at $137,999 for 180 users), engineered from the ground-up in partnership with HP Moonshot, AMD and Citrix, the system delivers dedicated “PC-on-a-chip” resources to support workers who need the power of a full desktop, with six times faster graphics frames per second, compared to other virtual desktop infrastructure solutions, dedicated compute and graphics processing for each user, a streamlined system that does not require SAN or hypervisor technologies to run hosted desktops, lower IT costs with 44% lower total cost of ownership and reduce power costs by up to 63%; and,
-increase time to value with up to 90 times faster deployments.
-HP ConvergedSystem 300 for Vertica (GA in 1Q14) augments existing enterprise data warehouses such as Teradata to quickly and easily load, explore, analyze and monetize structured, unstructured and semi-structured data from a single system, processing data 50-1,000 times faster than legacy products.
Also unveiled at HP’s Discover 2013 event in Barcelona were:
-HP Store Once Backup to more efficiently manage massive data growth by protecting more data in less time;
-HP StoreAll Archive helps extract value from Big Data repositories with integrated search tools that are 100,000 times faster than traditional approaches plus open object storage interfaces that enable next generation cloud storage applications; and,
-HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage flash storage with service level control enhancements that enable application performance assurance in consolidated IT-as-a-Service environments.