HP Launches New Servers And Finance Advice

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Hewlett-Packard’s new servers are fast, but today’s announcement is all about finding ways to pay for them

Hewlett-Packard has announced new servers and promised to help businesses free up the cash to buy them, by “self-funding” IT projects that eliminate old technology – a process the company calls “breaking the innovation gridlock”.

“In many organisations, IT is a ball and chain, as a result of cumulative IT decisions.” said Martin Hess, HP’s vice president of enterprise sales for the UK, at the London launch event. An HP survey found a majority of chief executives saw IT as an “enabler”, but also found that 70 percent of IT budgets are going on maintaining old IT rather than implementing new systems.

HP’s announcement focused on finance, because no matter how fast servers are, they don’t sell themselves. HP says its new ProLiant models, the DL360 G7, and the DL380 G7, are a vast improvement over previous servers, giving a 20:1 consolidation ratio over previous models, and increasing performance-per-Watt by 27 times. But all vendors have fast servers, and Gartner has predicted that users will buy fewer of them.

HP also launched a new version of its Insight Control server management software, which now includes “thermal logic” within its “lights-out” management software, that can dynamically monitor temperatures within a data centre, and direct power and cooling to any server which is running hot.

HP promises “unbiased” advice

“This new version has a return on investment of two months,” said Paul Evans, who markets enterprise transformation at HP, shifting the discussion off the hardware and onto the finances. Companies that turn off existing IT will be able to free budget to buy new IT which will pay for itself, said Evans.

HP has cut its own IT drastically in recent years, said Evans, slashing the applications it uses from 6000 down to 2000, a simplification which has allowed the company to reduce from 83 data centres down to three, each of which has a hot stand-by.

For companies that want to do the same, HP is offering free “transformation” workshops, a one-day exploration in which senior executives from the customer work with HP consultants to define the best next steps in moving away from old IT, closing down old bespoke applications and turning off mainframes.

Read our interview with Evans: HP slates IBM’s mainframe bias

Normally costing around £15,000, the workshops will be free to the first 25 customers who qualify.

HP also announced Cloud Services Automation, which helps users move applications onto a mixture of cloud services, including internal and external clouds, as well as those offering cloud services at different levels of the stack.

IT professionals must address the cloud or become irrelevant, said Marc Wilkinson, director of HP’s global cloud practice: “Otherwise business goes outside of IT and buys its own cloud services,” something he called “shadow IT”.

Shadow IT is not bought through IT procurement and doesn’t show up in IT expenses, warned Wilkinson. It is likely to be inappropriate and wasteful.

HP’s announcement duplicates a lot of what is available from IBM, which promised greater business “agility” last week, and also offers a combined package of services and hardware, which it says can save the user money. “You have to remember IBM is totally biased,” said Evans. “It makes 75 percent of its margin on mainframe software. You need someone who is not wedded to the old paradigm.”

HP is pulling its networking division closer into the company, to fuel a push into converged data centres, which also competes with Cisco. It also unveiled a new and simplified round logo, without the word “invent”.

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