HP leverages converged infrastructure across IT spectrum to simplify branch offices and data centers
The trend toward converged infrastructure—a whole greater than sum of the traditional IT hardware, software, networking and storage parts—is going both downstream and upstream.
HP today announced how combining and simplifying the parts of IT infrastructure makes the solution value far higher on either end of the applications distribution equation: At branch offices and the next-generation of compact and mobile all-in-one data center containers.
Called the HP Branch Office Networking Solution,
the idea is that engineering the fuller IT and communications
infrastructure solution, rather then leaving the IT staff and—even
worse—the branch office managers to do the integrating, not only
saves money, it allows the business to focus just on the applications
and processes. This focus, by the way, on applications and processes—not the systems integration, VOIP, updates and maintenance—is driving
the broad interest in cloud computing, SaaS and outsourcing. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
HP's announcements today in Barcelona are also marked by an emphasis on an ecosystem of partners approach,
especially the branch office solution, which packages 14 brand-name
apps, appliances and networking elements to make smaller
sub-organizations an integrated part of the larger enterprise IT effort.
The partner applications include WAN acceleration, security, unified
communications and service delivery management.
Appliances need integration too
could think of it as a kitchen counter approach to appliances, which
work well alone but don't exactly bake the whole cake. Organizing,
attaching and managing the appliances—with an emphasis on security
and centralized control for the whole set-up—has clearly been missing
in branch offices. The E5400 series switch accomplishes the convergence of the discrete network appliances. The HP E5400 switch with new HP Advanced Services ZL module is available worldwide today with pricing starting at $8,294.
Today's HP news also follows a slew of product announcements last month that targeted the SMB market, and the "parts is parts" side of building out IT solutions.
automate the branch office IT needs, HP is bringing together elements
of the branch IT equation from the likes of Citrix, Avaya, Microsoft,
and Riverbed. They match these up with routers, switches and management
of the appliances into a solution. Security and access control across
the branches and the integrated systems are being addressed via HP TippingPoint
security services. These provide granular control of application
access, with the ability to block access to entire websites—or
features—across the enterprise and its branches.
Worried about too much Twitter
usage at those branches? The new HP Application Digital Vaccine (AppDV)
service delivers specifically-designed filters to the HP TippingPoint
Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), which easily control access to, or
dictate usage of, non-business applications.
automation approach also support a variety of network types, which opens
the branch offices to be able to exploit more types of applications
delivery: from terminal serving apps, to desktop virtualization, to
wireless and mobile. The all-WiFi office might soon only need a single,
remotely and centrally managed locked-down rack in a lights-out closet,
with untethered smartphones, tablets and notebooks as the worker nodes.
When you think of it, the new optimized branch office (say 25 seats and up) should be the leader in cloud adoption, not a laggard. The HP Branch Office Networking Solution—with these market-leading technology partners—might just allow
the branches to demonstrate a few productivity tricks to the rest of the
Indeed, we might just think of many more "branch
offices" as myriad nodes within and across the global enterprises, where
geography becomes essentially irrelevant. Moreover, the branch office is the SMB, supported by any number and types of service providers, internal and external, public and private, SaaS and cloud.
Data centers get legs
Which brings us to the other end of the HP spectrum
for today's news. The same "service providers" that must support these
automated branch offices—in all their flavors and across the org
chart vagaries and far-flung global locations—must also re-engineer
their data centers for the new kinds of workloads, wavy demand curves,
and energy- and cost-stingy operational requirements.
So HP has built a sprawling complex in Houston—the POD Works—to build an adaptable family of modular data centers—the HP Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD)—in the shape of 20- and 40-foot tractor-trailer-like containers. As we've seen from some other vendors,
these mobile data centers in a box demand only that you drive the
things up, lock the brake and hook up electricity, water and a
high-speed network. I suppose you also drop them on the roof with a
helicopter, but you get the point.
But in today's economy, the
efficiency data rules the roost. The HP PODs deliver 37 percent more
efficiency and cost 45 percent less than a traditional brick-and-mortar
data centers, says HP.
Inside, the custom-designed container is
stuffed with highly engineered racks and the cooling, optimized networks
and storage, as well as the server horsepower—in this case HP
ProLiant SL6500 Scalable Systems, from 1 to 1,000 nodes. While HP is
targeting these at the high performance computing and service provider
needs—those that are delivering high-scale and/or high transactional
power—the adaptability and data center-level design may well become
more the norm than the exception.
The PODs are flexible at
supporting the converged infrastructure engines for energy efficiency,
flexibility and serviceability, said HP. And the management is converged
too, via Integrated Lights-Out Advanced (ILO 3), part of HP Insight
The POD parts to be managed are essentially as many as
eight servers, or up to four servers with 12 graphic processing units
(GPU), in single four-rack unit enclosures. The solution further
includes the HP ProLiant s6500 chassis, the HP ProLiant SL390s G7 server
and the HP ProLiant SL170s G6 servers. These guts can be flexibly upped
to accommodate flexible POD designs, for a wide variety and scale of
data-center-level performance and applications support requirements.
Built-in energy consciousness
may not want to paint the containers green, but you might as well. The
first release features optimized energy efficiency with HP ProLiant SL
Advanced Power Manager and HP Intelligent Power Discovery to improve
power management, as well as power supplies designed with 94 percent
greater energy efficiently, said HP.
Start saving energy with
delivering more than a teraFLOP per unit of rack space to increase
compute power for scientific rendering and modeling applications. Other
uses may well make themselves apparent.
Have data center POD,
will travel? At least the wait for a POD is more reasonable. With HP
POD-Works, PODs can be assembled, tested and shipped in as little as six
weeks, compared with one year or longer, to build a traditional
brick-and-mortar data center, said HP.
Hey, come to think of it,
for those not blocking it with the TippingPoint IPS, I wish Twitter had a
few of these on those PODs on the bird strings instead of that fail whale.
Twitter should also know that multiple PODs or a POD farm can support
large hosting operations and web-based or compute-intensive
applications, in case they want to buy Google or Facebook.
Indeed, as cloud computing grains traction, data centers may be located (and co-located) based on more than whale tails. Compliance to local laws, for business continuity
and to best serve all those thousands of automated branch offices might
also spur demand for flexible and efficient mobile data centers.
Converged infrastructure may have found a converged IT market, even one that spans the globe.
We automatically stop accepting comments 180 days after a post is published. If you would like to know more about this subject, please contact us and we'll try to help.