HP Seeks To Ease Virtualisation Complexity

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Companies are struggling with complex, inflexible, and fragmented virtual environments but help is at hand, says HP’s Ingo Kraft

Hewlett-Packard may be in the midst of upheaval in some parts of its consumer-facing business, but the enterprise side continues to provide a ready vein of business opportunities.

To this end, HP has announced the availability of its VirtualSystem for VMware vSphere 5, which it says provides the foundation for organisations looking beyond virtualisation towards cloud computing.

Ingo Kraft, HP Lefthand’s EMEA product marketing manager describes VirtualSystem for VMware vSphere 5 as a highly-optimised, turnkey solution that will give customers a virtualised infrastructure that can speed up the implementation of new virtual environments and also provide a foundation for cloud computing.

Complex Environments

“The growth of virtual systems in the past has often led to fragmented and complex environments, that are both really costly and inflexible to run, and require lots of effort in order to adopt to new solutions, or to move applications around,” explained Kraft.

“This new strategy is to to build out a more linked-together solution and the pieces are now coming together,” he said. “HP can provide customers with more choice about their whole solution specification, but the virtual systems are going to make life easier, as these virtual systems will  simplify and speed up the building up new virtual systems.”

“It will ensure that customers or channel partners will use a pre-configured solution, that has been pre-tested and which incorporates best practice guidelines, so the customer ends up getting a perfect working solution,” said Kraft. “In announcing these new offerings, that includes new elements on the software and server side, storage, networking, HP is now offering and combining all these pieces together and is adding services all around these offerings to help and support the customer or our channel partners.”

HP has recognised that, as virtualisation has seen increasing adoption among customers, there has been a corresponding increase in complexity and obstacles toward broad deployment capabilities, because of multi-tier network architectures, virtual sprawl, inflexible storage, unpredictable workloads and security concerns.

Bold Claims

HP is aiming its VirtualSystem for VMware at mid-sized to large organisations to help them overcome these challenges. The system comprises a bundle of HP products and services: FlexFabric virtualised networking, Converged Storage, BladeSystem servers, and Insight software with on-site installation services.

The tech giant is basing this solution on HP’s Converged Infrastructure and is making some bold claims about how HP VirtualSystem features architectural innovations and services that help eliminate virtualisation complexity, consolidate IT infrastructure, as well as improve performance.

HP believes this will enable clients to accelerate their virtual machine mobility by up to 40 percent, while doubling throughput and reducing network recovery time by more than 500 times with the new HP FlexFabric virtualised networking solution. It also claims customers will be able to cut capacity requirements by 50 percent, as well as double their virtual machine density, and speed deployment with HP LeftHand and HP 3PAR Storage Systems.

According to Kraft, it also provides better management of the system as virtual server operation can be improved thanks to HP Insight Control for VMware vCenter, which alerts IT administrators and allows for remote troubleshooting and management.

One Stop Shop

Kraft points out that HP’s services and channel partners can assist customers in better alignment of their virtualisation strategies and investments to business goals.

“Essentially we have tightened up the link between VMware and HP virtual products, so they can now be linked together very easily to reduce complexity,” said Kraft. “But also it helps in lowering power consumption and lowering heat, as well as speeding up agility in the business, aligning business goals.”

“The virtual systems will delivered in three versions. System One offers up to 750 virtual machines utilising traditional servers, and the customer can start with a low number of virtual machines and increase from there,” said Kraft. “System Two offers up to 2,500 virtual machines that are built on blade servers. System Three offers up to 6,000 virtual machines, also built on blades services and includes 3par solutions that are designed for very high workloads.”

“And if the customer is interested and has a need to change their environment from self-operated to the cloud, they can turn it into cloud system, they can with this solution,” said Kraft. “The hardware specification in the cloud and virtual environment is the same.”

“We are shipping pre-configured systems and also delivering a monitoring tool to allow system admins to have full control of virtual specification, from the virtual machine to the physical hardware layers underneath,” said Kraft. “Today in most competitive environments it takes much more manual processes to get this together.”

System Pricing

HP is accepting orders for HP VirtualSystem for VMware vSphere 5 from August 30, according to Kraft. “As it is built on our regular products we can ship immediately,” he said.

HP VirtualSystem for VMware starts at $167,300 (£101,956), including HP Converged Infrastructure, factory integration and three years of HP Support Plus 24. Customers can also use existing licensing agreements or purchase pre-installed VMware vSphere 5 licences from HP.

Kraft estimates that it will cost approximately $800/$850 (£489/£519) per virtual machine.

“This is an enhancement to our portfolio of products that we have had for many years,” said Kraft. “We can now integrate and pre-install the whole-solutions approach, so the customer can have an up-to-speed solution running a VMware environment.”

“The whole system will be shipped to the customer and installed in just three days, which saves a lot of time and complexity when compared to building up the fundamental groundworks, which is where customers have traditionally invested heavily, often integrating products from different vendors.”

Equipment Refresh

“We are taking out the complexity and creating a single point of contact,” explained Kraft, although he admits not every customer is in a position to replace their entire infrastructure. “It depends on the customer but, if they wanted to stay with other vendor’s kit, we can still proceed,” said Kraft.

“However, we are seeing a lot of customers that have a lot of risk because they have combined disparate equipment, which often leads to large admin costs and slow time to change when reacting to differing business needs,” said Kraft. “Also the new equipment offers incredible enhancements and developments in the area of power consumption and heat. Both of these areas have been massively developed and improved over the last two or three years.”

“HP offers the whole set of service offerings, starting with strategic services, such as measuring data traffic in order to get a clear picture of what the customer needs and requires,” said Kraft. “Moving from legacy storage to new storage systems like 3Par or Lefthand often results in the customer needing less storage than before and that in turn reduces their operational costs. We help the customer plan and we support the equipment over the whole lifetime.”

“It sounds a simple thing,” concludes Kraft, “but we have spoken to a lot of customers that already have that first experience of virtual environments, and they are business critical. It is an absolute must for system admins today to be able to react fast and easily, that is where a lot of customers will have to put in tremendous work, putting together all the pieces from many vendors. We are hopefully making it easier for the customer.”

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