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Analysis

'Everything' as a service future means transforming IT for efficiency, scale, says HP's Livermore
Dana Gardner By: Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst, Interarbor Solutions
Published: 17th June 2009
Copyright Interarbor Solutions © 2009
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Las Vegas: Hewlett-Packard opened its Tech Form 2009 conference here Monday evening with a portrait of a future in which everything in IT is delivered—and perhaps consumed—as a service.

Ann Livermore, Executive Vice President for HP's Technology Solutions Group (TSG), said the recession and technology advances have combined to offer a new era in computing, one where a hybrid of sourcing and delivery means moves all IT assets to the level of a service.

Livermore identified three mega trends now buffeting the IT landscape: Information explosion, Everything as a Service, and Data Center Transformation.

HP expects that after a 12-month period of operational optimization initiatives that CIOs will also seek more transformative IT functional delivery improvements, including such next-generation data center bulwarks as consolidation, automation, and virtualization. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

But CIOs and IT managers will also see more infrastructure, application development, applications, data, business intelligence, and IT management delivered as services, either from on-premises next-generation data centers, services abstracted from legacy systems, via outsourced IT operations and also from a growing ecology of third-party cloud providers.

In addition, Livermore said that providing such IT services, via HP's acquisition of EDS, now accounts for the majority of HP's revenues. "Services is now HP's biggest business," she said.

The current goal then for IT is to manage IT operations for cost efficiency and performance optimization while preparing for a transformation to the "everything" services future.

In a hint of a building tussle with Cisco, Livermore says much more is to come from HP in networking equipment and solutions. "We'll be more aggressive ... we're serious," she said. Cisco has entered HP's server business turf, and HP has been providing more of Cisco's core of networking equipment to the market. A market clash is under way. Brocade, a Cisco competitor, is a major sponsor of this years Tech Form conference.

See more about what went on during the keynote in a live stream by doing a Twitter search on #HPTF.

Livermore's keynote address also emphasized energy conservation as an essential ingredient of today's IT operations. If you don't transform your data center, you'll find yourself running out of electricity in few years, she told the attendees. I believe that.

Keynote speaker Paul Miller, HP Vice President of Enterprise Servers and Storage Marketing, sees strong growth for HP in virtualization, private cloud, and "Extreme ScaleOut" products.

So much so that he introduced a new product, HP Extreme ScaleOut server, a powerful pooled resource server that can be managed as a cloud, and which helps conserve energy, space and costs. The devise is based on ProLiant SL technology, but is "skinless," meaning it fits into racks for much less weight, waste, and footprint. Mean and Green was the message.

Furthermore, Miller says "storage as a service" is coming from HP that works like a storage area network (SAN), but with far less complexity, to works like a private cloud, with much lower total storage cost.

Lastly, Prith Banerjee, Senior Vice President and Research Director of HP Labs, provided a fascinating look at HP research efforts in eight areas:

  • Digital commercial printing
  • Intelligent infrastructure
  • Content transformation
  • Immersive interactions
  • Information management
  • Analytics
  • Cloud
  • Sustainability (ie, Green IT)

If you have a chance to watch Banerjee's presentation online, I highly recommend it.

My major take-away from the presentations was that HP, and much of the IT industry, now knows what needs to be done to make IT enter its next era. It's all pretty clear. But getting there ... that's the rub. And to fail is to probably die as a competitive organization.

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