Microsoft And HP Launch Converged Appliances

Microsoft and HP have joined to combine four productivity tools in a single, ready-to-install appliance

Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard published a roadmap outlining their launch plans for four new converged appliances on January 19. These appliances combine applications, infrastructure and productivity tools into a single system.

The four appliances, HP Business Decision Appliance, HP E5000 Messaging System for Microsoft Exchange Server, HP Database Consolidation Appliance, and HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance, are all based on HP servers and run Microsoft software.

Fast Deployment Of Critical Applications

These appliances would reduce IT complexity by making configuration, deployment and management easier, the two companies said. The jointly engineered appliances would allow IT teams to deploy business critical applications in as little as one hour, as opposed to the months often required for customised deployments, they said.

Microsoft and HP announced the three-year $250 million (£156 million) partnership to deliver jointly developed “application solutions” and hardware-software appliances a year ago. The HP Enterprise Data Warehouse appliance, jointly launched in November, simplifies data warehouse deployments and integrates with the Microsoft Business Intelligence platform. The appliance delivers up to 200 times faster queries and 10 times the scalability of traditional SQL Server deployments, the companies said.

These turnkey appliances are among the first to emerge from the partnership.

HP Business Decision Appliance is an HP server with Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 R2, and SharePoint 2010 pre-installed. Customers can choose from the HP BladeSystem, ProLiant servers, Integrity servers, and HP StorageWorks for the underlying hardware. The appliance supports comprehensive business intelligence, with tools like the PowerPivot add-in for Microsoft Excel and SharePoint collaboration. A dashboard on the appliance allows IT managers to audit, monitor, and manage what end-users are working on.

HP E5000 Messaging System for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is an HP server with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010 pre-installed. The appliance can be based on either HP Proliant Servers or the HP BladeSystem, according to the product site. The self-contained, pre-configured Exchange Server simplifies Exchange deployment and supports centralised archiving, large mailboxes, and 24/7 access from any device, the companies said.

HP Database Consolidation Appliance is a hardware-software bundle that helps administrators to consolidate hundreds of databases into a single virtual environment. A departure from workload-specific appliances, this cloud appliance allow customers to create a private cloud with self-service, on-demand scalability, and dynamic elasticity. The appliance is an HP server running Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 R2, and the Hyper-V Cloud stack.

HP Business Data Warehouse appliance comes with the SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse pre-installed on either HP ProLiant Servers or StorageWorks P2000 Modular Storage Arrays. The software is a high-end version of SQL Server. The Business Data Warehouse appliance improves data access and supports faster queries, the companies said.

HP Business Decision Appliance is priced at $28,000 (£18,000) and is available immediately, while the HP E5000 will be available in March, with a price tag of $36,000 (£23,000). There is no pricing information available for the HP Database Consolidation Appliance, which is slated for delivery in June. Finally, the HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance will cost about $2 million (£1.25 million) and is due for release in the second half of 2011.

The HP-Microsoft partnership cantered on the companies’ plans to integrate HP Insight software, HP Business Technology Optimization software, and Microsoft System Center with Microsoft Hyper-V Server. The two companies are expected to collaborate on the Windows Azure platform and Microsoft will be investing in HP hardware for the Azure infrastructure. Additional transaction-processing appliances are also expected.